This paper presents an optical system called MacPI, which implements a two-color reflectance technique in combination with various hardware and software tools to assess objectively the macular pigment (MP) optical density in vivo. The system consists of a bespoke optical design, a control architecture, driver electronics, a collection of image-processing techniques, and a graphical user interface. The deficiencies of the technique employed and the solutions implemented in the MacPI system to confront those inherent frailties are presented. An overview of the effective interpretation of the acquired data and the techniques employed by MacPI in the acquisition of that data is discussed. The result of a comparison trial with an alternative device is also presented. We suggest that appropriate design of the hardware and an efficient interpretation of the acquired data should produce a system capable of consistent, accurate, and rapid measurements, while retaining the distinction of ease of use, portability, comfort for the subject, and a design that is economic to produce. Its versatility should allow both for a clinical screening application and for further investigation and establishment of the physiological role of the MP in a laboratory-based environment.
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