Eye Health and Function
The Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) within the NRCI has studied the role of nutrition for optimising visual function and the prevention of blindness.
The focus of this research is on naturally occurring plant pigments known as carotenoids. Carotenoids play important roles throughout the body, but three particular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) are found at the back of the eye (the macula) where they are collectively known as macular pigment.
The main part of this research was the European Research Council funded CREST (Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials) project and it comprised of two different arms: CREST Normal and CREST AMD.
CREST successfully assessed the impact of enriched macular pigment with all three macular carotenoids on visual performance and blindness. Of note, this was the first study to test the effects of supplementation with all three macular carotenoids, including meso-zeaxanthin, in the context of a sufficiently powered, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
CREST Normal recruited 105 volunteers and investigated the ways in which enrichment of macular pigment with the macular carotenoids impacted on the visual performance and experience of normal subjects without eye disease.
CREST AMD recruited 121 volunteers and investigated ways in which enrichment of macular pigment with the macular carotenoids impacted on the visual performance and experience of subjects with early age-r elated macular degeneration (AMD).
Meet The Team
Professor Stephen Beatty
Professor Stephen Beatty is the Director of the Macular Pigment Research Group. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1990, and trained as an ophthalmic surgeon in Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Geneva. He has been a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with a special interest in retinal disease since 2001.
Professor John Nolan
Professor John Nolan is the Principal Investigator of the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG, www.mprg.ie). His research group studies the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness, and current studies are investigating the link between nutrition and brain health and function.