As people age, their visual function gradually decreases, and the prevalence of various eye diseases increases year by year. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the main causes of irreversible visual impairment in the elderly and has become the third leading cause of blindness in China. Good nutrition is very important for keeping the eyes healthy. Two very important nutrients may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataract: lutein and zeaxanthin.
What are lutein and zeaxanthin?
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two carotenes found in the macula of the retina of the eye, and their chemical structures are very similar. These two substances cannot be synthesized in the human body and must be ingested through food or supplements. Although lutein is considered as a yellow pigment, it looks orange-red at high concentrations.
Why are lutein and zeaxanthin important for vision?
The macula is the retinal area responsible for central vision, responsible for clear central vision, and the ability to perceive color. Lutein mainly exists in the center of the macular area of the retina, while zeaxanthin mainly exists around the macular area of the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin can filter blue light and ultraviolet rays. At the same time, they have a strong antioxidant effect, so they can help prevent the damage of blue light, ultraviolet rays, and free radicals to the macular area and retina. If sunglasses are the first line of defense against ultraviolet blue light, lutein, and zeaxanthin are the last line of defense.