Lutein is known as a carotenoid vitamin that acts as a colour pigment in the macula and retina of the eye. If you think of vitamin D as the 'sunshine vitamin' then you can think of lutein as the 'vision vitamin'.
Research has shown that lutein acts as a natural light filter for the eye, protecting it from potential damage caused by ultraviolet light, digital blue light emitted from computer screens and mobile devices and even a poor diet. In fact, various studies have shown that a direct relationship exists between lutein intake and pigmentation in the eye.
Zeaxanthin is the dominant component within the very center of the macula. It is the other main carotenoid, along with lutein, that provides pigmentation in the eyes. These two antioxidants are highly concentrated in the eyes compared to the rest of the body. Zeaxanthin is dominant in the center of the macula, whereas lutein is dominant in the surrounding retina.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are stronger together
Both lutein and zeaxanthin act as filters for your eyes, blocking out harmful UV rays and other high-energy wavelengths. As antioxidants, these important pigments guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases.
Oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals, cloudy lenses and retinal damage. It is believed that lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD).
In fact research has shown that the more lutein and zeaxanthin there is the eye, the less likely you are to suffer from age related vision loss including AMD and if you already have it, it may slow down the progression of the disease.