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Carotenoids May Improve Visual Performance of People With Normal Vision

Lutein and zeaxanthin create the yellow pigmentation of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides protection from damaging blue light. If the yellow macular pigment is too thin, blue light can penetrate the retina and cause long-term damage. A recent study suggests that long-term supplementation with lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin may help improve the visual performance of people who with normal vision.


Participants in the study included 105 people with an average age of 48. They were given either a supplement containing 10 mg of lutein, 10 mg of meso-zeaxanthin, and 2 mg of zeaxanthin or a placebo once daily with a meal. Study visits occurred at 3, 6, and 12 months.


The researchers measured the change in overall macular pigment and then ranked that against changes in contrast specificity. Contrast specificity measures how well eyes can see the edges of things. They found that the supplement group had significant improvements from baseline contrast sensitivity as well as observed increases in retinal concentrations of the carotenoids, when compared with the placebo.


Researchers from Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland and the University of Georgia conducted the study. It was published in the June 2016 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.


You can increase your lutein and zeaxanthin levels by consuming more green leafy vegetables, corn, and egg yolk or taking a supplement, as was done in this study.

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