Quantification of Macular Carotenoids Using Autofluorescence Imaging in Patients With Photosensitive Migraine and Benign Essential Blepharospasm | External Eye Disease | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
Feb 2012

Quantification of Macular Carotenoids Using Autofluorescence Imaging in Patients With Photosensitive Migraine and Benign Essential Blepharospasm

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: John A. Moran Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (Mr Frandsen and Drs Digre, Bernstein, Warner, and Katz) and Department of Neurology (Drs Digre, Warner, and Katz), Health Sciences Center, and Department of Physics and Astronomy (Drs Sharifzadeh and Gellerman), University of Utah, Salt Lake City; and University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, Puerto Rico (Ms Llop).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130(2):259-260. doi:10.1001/archopthalmol.2011.1372

Photophobia describes light sensitivity or abnormal intolerance of light. Patients with photophobia avoid light because of pain or discomfort. Photophobia may be reported by individuals with conditions not necessarily affecting the eye. Two such conditions are migraine and benign essential blepharospasm.1,2 We have previously demonstrated that patients with migraine or blepharospasm are more light sensitive than age-matched control subjects.3

The pathophysiology of light sensitivity is unknown. We suspected that patients with photophobia might have abnormally low levels of the xanthophyll carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in their retinas. These carotenoids filter out phototoxic short-wavelength visible light and function as antioxidants.4 We have previously demonstrated that a rose-colored spectacle tint, FL-41, can ameliorate symptoms of light sensitivity in patients with blepharospasm.5 Because of the similarity between the transmission spectra of FL-41 and carotenoids, we hypothesized that photophobic individuals may have reduced levels of carotenoids in their maculae.