Frederic Jouhet, managing director at MacuHealth, is a French-born entrepreneur who has founded several startups in the U.S. and Europe. He is a graduate of the Université d”™Auvergne Ecole de Droit et de Science Politique, France, with a Masters in Banking and Business Law and The University of Michigan Law School where he received his LL.M. (Masters in Law) in 1996. He also served as an officer in the French Navy.
Richard Clompus, OD: How does MacuHealth with LMZ3 differ from the AREDS2 formula?
Frederic Jouhet: MacuHealth with LMZ3 was specifically designed and formulated to rebuild and enrich macular pigment. We believe””and science has now clearly shown””that maximizing macular pigment with all three carotenoids, lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin (LMZ), can improve visual performance by reducing glare and increasing contrast while protecting RPE and photoreceptor cells from a lifetime of oxidation. AREDS2 was specifically formulated for patients diagnosed with intermediate to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
RC: Can meso-zeaxanthin be obtained from a regular diet?
FJ: Meso-zeaxanthin was once thought to be derived solely through an enzymatic process in the macula from retinal lutein. This was based on research from Tufts University. We have since learned that the high lutein-based formulation used in that study had trace amounts of meso-zeaxanthin in it. Since we know that ingestion of the carotenoids, including meso-zeaxanthin, are found in blood serum and that nature exquisitely, through biological selectivity, deposits only these three carotenoids (LMZ) in our macula, even trace amounts can impact the target tissue, macular pigment. Though meso-zeaxanthin is found in foods, it”™s rare in the western diet.
RC: How does MacuHealth support patient compliance in daily supplementation?
FJ: Studies show that you need at least 10mg per day of the three carotenoids in order to effect target tissue change. Even those with a healthy diet are likely to only get about 2mg to 3mg per day. Patient compliance is critical to the long-term health of our macula. We provide patient recall tools to help patients return to their eyecare professional for replacement product. Some practitioners prescribe and dispense multiple bottles to the patient each time they come in. We also offer links and iframes that can be placed on practice websites that link to our online portal and shopping cart. This allows patients under their doctor”™s care to sign up for our automatic shipping program from which the patient receives a new bottle every 85 days.
RC: How significant is the role optometrists play in supporting the use of nutraceuticals for AMD prevention and management?
FJ: Many optometrists only think about prescribing macular supplements after they have seen drusen. But if you think about when AMD starts, when the oxidative process starts and when visible short wavelength visible light causes the greatest amount of damage to the macula, it is when you are young. We cannot control genetic factors, however, we are learning that epigenetics plays a significant role in the development of disease, including AMD. Many patients, just based on their lifestyle choices and the fact that they are living longer, will get AMD, even in the absence of genetic predisposition. So prevention and patient education are critical.
Optometry, out of all medical disciplines, is best suited to provide this level of patient care and should be integrating it into every comprehensive eye exam, no matter the patient”™s age. Optometric practices that take the time to evaluate patient lifestyle choices and are prescriptive when providing recommendations to their patients will see significant increases in non-refractive revenue while providing superior patient care.