News

Carotenoids benefit eye health

December 22, 2009

A new review confirms that lutein and zeaxanthin benefit visual performance.

The study shows that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments found mainly in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, can help reduce the deleterious effects of glare, improve visual performance and help shield against harmful blue light (1).

The researchers discussed scientific studies that show how macular pigment (MP), a diet-derived yellowish pigment found in the central retina and formed by lutein and zeaxanthin, helps to reduce the harmful effects of glaring lights on visual function. Additional clinical research shows how this improvement in visual performance is commensurate with increases in MP levels achieved through regular supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Macular pigment is thought to improve glare performance through absorption of forward scattered short-wave (blue) light. There is preliminary data to suggest that it increases visual range by absorbing short-wave scattered light in the atmosphere. The detrimental effects of glaring light on visual function, including visual discomfort and greatly reduced contrast, are common problems for millions of people.

In addition, there is much evidence to suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin protect the retina and lens and prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts, the researchers commented. However, the ability of lutein and zeaxanthin to filter light depends on individual differences in the dietary intake of these carotenoids.

References

  1. Stringham J et al. Influence of Dietary Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Visual Performance. Journal of Food Science. 2009.