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The Effect of Systemic Hyperoxia and Hypoxia on Scotopic Thresholds in People with Early and Intermediate Age-related Macular Degeneration

Callaghan, T., Margrain, T. H. & Binns, A. M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8621-498X (2020). The Effect of Systemic Hyperoxia and Hypoxia on Scotopic Thresholds in People with Early and Intermediate Age-related Macular Degeneration. Current Eye Research, 45(10), pp. 1273-1282. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2020.1739315


Purpose: Morphological retinal changes combined with functional evidence implicate hypoxia in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the role of hypoxia in the scotopic threshold deficit reported in AMD has not been investigated. This study compared scotopic thresholds in participants with early and intermediate AMD recorded under conditions of systemic hypoxia, hyperoxia and normoxia.

Materials and Methods: Over two sessions scotopic thresholds were measured with participants breathing 21% and 60% oxygen (n = 12 early AMD, n = 11 age-similar controls) or 21% and 14% oxygen (n = 16 early AMD, n = 20 age-similar controls). Thresholds were measured using a 'white', annular 12 degrees stimulus, using a QUEST procedure.

Results: There was no statistically significant change in scotopic thresholds within the AMD or control group when breathing the hyperoxic gas mixture (60% oxygen) or the hypoxic gas mixture (14% oxygen) when compared to the normoxic condition (21% oxygen). There was also no statistically significant difference in scotopic thresholds between groups under the hyperoxic or hypoxic gas conditions. The difference between groups under the normoxic condition was not statistically significant for the hyperoxia study (p = .70), but did reach significance in the hypoxia study (p = .05).

Conclusion: This study provided no evidence that breathing that breathing 14% or 60% oxygen altered scotopic thresholds in those with early AMD when compared to controls. However, the lack of elevated scotopic thresholds in the AMD group of the hyperoxia study is of note, as it is unlikely that hyperoxia would reduce thresholds which were not significantly raised at baseline, regardless of whether hypoxia was a factor in the disease pathogenesis. The findings of this study do not rule out a role for hypoxia in early AMD, but this needs to be assessed in future experiments using measures that differ significantly between people with AMD and controls.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Current Eye Research on 20 Mar 2020, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; hyperoxia; hypoxia; scotopic thresholds; visual function
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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