Lutein, zeaxanthin good for healthy eyes, too

Supplementation with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin could boost retinal health in the eyes, and have benefits for people with seemingly healthy eyes, says a new study. The human macular pigments (MPs), lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z), most commonly linked to protection from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), were found to reduce the deleterious effects of glare on a test group of people with normal eyesight, report researchers in the journal Optometry and Vision Science. The researchers looked at the effects of glare – as experienced in many everday situations, from being outdoors on bright, sunny days, to lengthy periods looking at computer monitors, and nighttime exposure to the intense beam of oncoming headlights – on the subjects’ eyes. «Because many elderly and AMD patients suffer disability due to glare, further study of whether lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation could reduce these problems is warranted,» they concluded. Earlier this year, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School reported that a higher intake of the carotenoids, as well as vitamin E, could reduce the risk of developing cataracts by about 15 per cent. Over 35,000 women took part in the study, which showed that a high intake of the two carotenoids reduced the risk of cataracts by 18 per cent, while vitamin E was associated with a 14 per cent reduction, reports the study in the Archives of Ophthalmology (Jan. 2008, Vol. 126, pp. 102-109).
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