Round-up from the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2015

Above: Downing College in Cambridge, UK (src:

Lloyd Snider, O.D. shares lecture topics and key takeaways from the Macular Carotenoids Conference held in Cambridge, UK July 8th-10, 2015.

Above: Downing College in Cambridge, UK (src:
Above: Downing College in Cambridge, UK (src:

I’m just back and over my jet lag from the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2015, held at Downing College, University of Cambridge, UK. It was an amazing three-day event where the world’s best researchers gathered for a spirited discussion on macular carotenoids. There were 24 lectures, each followed by questions from the attendees. Additionally, there were thirty-four posters presented which also had question and answer sessions. Poster Abstracts and Speaker Abstracts were published in the European Journal of Ophthalmology Supplement. (You can find the abstracts, here.)

Head of a child with puzzle brain. IsolatedSome of the topics covered:

  • Modifying sweet corn to increase carotenoid content
  • Childhood vegetable intake predicting adult MPOD
  • Macular pigment and cognitive function
  • A case of spontaneous MacTel 2 macular hole closure with carotenoid supplementation
  • L, Z, and MZ content in eggs from supplemented chickens
  • The impact of carotenoids and B vitamin supplements in Alzheimer patients
  • Serum response in humans to MZ enriched chicken eggs
  • Macular carotenoids in pre-and post-natal development
  • Macular carotenoids in breast milk
  • Clinical experience with macular carotenoids replacing injections in exudative AMD
  • Structural and functional response in glaucoma to carotenoid supplementation
  • Oxidative stress, carotenoids and dementia
  • Macular carotenoids, psychological stress, and general health status in young adults

Some of the things I learned:

  • There are differing xanthophyll contents in regions of the elderly brain
  • Macular pigment is important in cognition
  • Drusen have a high concentration of zinc.
  • Avocado helps with lutein uptake
  • Ganglion cell loss in glaucoma causes glare and dark adaptation problems
  • Glaucoma patients have lower macular pigment
  • With foveal involvement, more damage means slower photo stress recovery
  • There is a possible link between glaucoma and cognitive decline

After the lectures, expert guides gave us an historical tour of Cambridge and many of its colleges. Sampling some of the many pub offerings was delightful. We also had a great banquet with best poster awards for PhD candidates, as well as surprise entertainment from an opera-singing chef and maitre’d. They had the entire group singing and dancing around the hall.

The lectures should be available in the near future on video. We will let you know as soon as they are ready. The next Macular Carotenoids Conference meeting in Cambridge is slated for 2018. I hope to see you there. It is truly a unique experience and a worthwhile, intriguing meeting. Please plan ahead!

lloyd Lloyd Snider, O.D.
Optometric Director

Sponsor Macuhealth

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