Lutein has a strong presence in eye health from cradle to grave. Lutein is added to baby formulas, AREDS 2 supplements, and is now being recommended for all ages in between to support long-term eye health. In this educational download, we will discuss why lutein is important, dietary suggestions for your patients, blue light protection, sensitivity to bright light, patients concerned with older family members who have macular health issues, and overall health benefits of lutein beyond the eyes.
WHAT IS LUTEIN?
Lutein (Loo-teen) is an antioxidant that is also classified as a carotenoid. Lutein is found in rich concentrations in the macula of the eye. Lutein supports our eyes by sifting out damaging short-wavelength UV light rays that affect the delicate macula. Lutein also fights the effects of free radicals. As we age, the amount of lutein in the macula may decrease, which can cause more health problems for the eyes.
Lutein cannot be made by the body so it must be consumed in the diet. Researchers recommend 10 mg of lutein daily, however, most Americans only get 1-2 mg per day!
BLUE LIGHT AFFECTS PEOPLE OF ALL AGES
Over the last decade, there has been a lot of focus on blue light and the damage that blue light exposure can cause to the eyes. Blue light is a component of visible light that is not easily filtered by the eyes, negatively affecting eye health.
Short-term effects of blue light exposure include eye fatigue, eye strain, headaches, and sleep disruption. Long term, blue light can cause retinal cell damage and age-related vision loss.
LIGHT SENSITIVITY & GLARE
Light-sensitive eyes can be caused for a variety of reasons. Some causes include large pupils, light eye color, cataracts, dry eyes, computer vision syndrome, glaucoma, eye strain, and other conditions. Nutritional deficiencies, especially in lutein, may also cause light sensitivity.
Since lutein is deposited specifically in our macula and helps to filter harmful blue light it can help people with light sensitivity. Lutein also helps to improve recovery from bright, intense light and glare.