Prof John Nolan receives Heidelberg Engineering Xtreme Research Award 2020

WIT researcher wins prestigious award for macular pigment research for vision health and function and his more recent work on macular pigment as a biomarker for brain nutrition and its connection to cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease


Prof Nolan has an impressive research track record focusing on the role of macular pigment (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) for visual and cognitive function. With the Xtreme Research Award 2020, Heidelberg Engineering recognises his efforts to verify the importance of macular pigment for visual performance in both healthy individuals and AMD patients, standardising these measurements with an investigational SPECTRALIS Macular Pigment Optical Volume* Module. It also acknowledges his drive to link macular carotenoids to cognitive function and brain health, with the goal of identifying ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof Nolan said: “It is a tremendous honor for me to accept this award from Heidelberg Engineering, which is a result of over two-decades of work studying this nutritional pigment in the eye. I am most grateful to my team for their continued commitment to our research questions, and this award is a true reflection of their achievements. Science is only as good as its measurements, and thankfully we now have access to gold standard technology such as the Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS.

The future of our research and its successful translation and benefits to eyecare will be driven by this innovative technology. My vision is that routine measurement of macular pigment in the clinic setting will be part of best practice and uniquely offered by the SPECTRALIS.”

Until recently, it was difficult to standardise the assessment of macular pigment since previous techniques were unable to provide a full image and measurement results were both subjective and highly variable. Prof Nolan is one of the leading researchers that have contributed to the establishment of a comprehensive and objective evaluation of the macular pigment profile for the benefit of patients worldwide*.

Invitation to an Xtreme Research Award Webinar

Due to this year’s ARVO cancellation, the traditional Xtreme Research Award lecture will take place online as an Xtreme Research Award Webinar with Prof Nolan: “Macular Pigment Assessment with SPECTRALIS”, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (CEST). Heidelberg Engineering invites you to join by registering under: Xtreme Research Award lecture


SPECTRALIS MPOV is currently under development and not available for sale.

*Green-Gomez M, Bernstein PS, Curcio CA, Moran R, Roche W, Nolan JM. Standardizing the assessment of macular pigment using a dual-wavelength autofluorescence technique. Translational Vision Science & Technology December 2019, Vol.8, 41. doi:

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