Lutein, a nutrient found mainly in leafy green vegetables, is thought to protect against light-induced retina damage. While some studies show positive results from lutein use, more research is needed to determine its definitive benefits and safety.
Some call lutein (sometimes spelled luteine) "the eye vitamin" and claim it protects against eye disorders like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Is Lutein Safe?
Besides lending bright color to some foods, lutein and zeaxanthin are a hot topic in eye health. These nutrients accumulate in the eye and are said to protect against damage to the retina and macula (the central area of the retina responsible for sharp vision). They are antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals, and they also shield cells in the retina from high-energy blue light. Common sources of blue light include sunlight and the display screens of digital devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. Exposure to this type of light is thought to increase the risk for developing AMD − a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 65 years and older. In AMD, the macula breaks down and patients lose their ability to see clearly. Everyday activities such as reading, driving, recognizing faces, and navigating stairs become difficult or even impossible.
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