A study published inOphthalmology points to a link between slowed rod-mediated dark adaptation and a higher incidence of age-related macular degeneration in adults who otherwise have a healthy macula. The results of this study indicate that a patient’s delayed dark adaptation could be the very first sign of macular degeneration.
The study involved 325 participants with an average age of 67.8 years. All of the participants had normal macular health to start with and they were monitored over the course of 3 years to document the incidence of AMD development. At the end of the study, researchers noted that 62 patients who had abnormal dark adaptation and were almost two times ore likely to develop macular degeneration compared to the patients that had normal dark adaptation.
Using delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation as an early indicator for the disease will allow doctors to intervene using dark adaptation as an outcome measure to prevent the onset of the disease in older adults. Researchers also suggested that dark adaptation testing be considered as an alternative endpoint to visual acuity testing.*