Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lutein and zeaxanthin may improve visual performance and reduce the effects of glare

The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are most commonly linked to protection from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In a new study conducted at the University of Georgia, lutein and zeaxanthin were found to reduce the harmful effects of glare on a test group of people with normal eyesight.

Healthy subjects with an average age of 23.9 were assigned to receive daily supplements of lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg) for six months. The subjects' eyes were then tested for the effects of glare as experienced in everyday situations, including being outdoors on bright days, lengthy sessions of looking at a computer monitor, and nighttime exposure to oncoming headlights.

Following six months of supplementation, the participant's average macular pigment optical density (MPOD) increased significantly from the average value at the beginning of the study. MPOD is a measure of the eye's ability to filter short-wave light.

After testing the subjects for their performance in visual tasks following glare, researchers concluded that four to six months of supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin significantly reduced the detrimental effects of the exposure and improved visual performance.

Source: Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions, Stringham and Hammond, Optom Vis Sci 2008 Feb;85(2):82-8