Lutein for Eyes

Amruta Deshpande Jun 6, 2019
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Lutein is one of the 600 naturally occurring carotenoids, and is believed to be beneficial for eye health. Let's obtain some valuable information about the benefits of lutein for our eyesight from this write-up.
Lutein belongs to the class of chemical compounds known as xanthophylls, which are actually beta carotene related carotenoids. Carotenoids are the yellow and orange pigments that are necessary for eye health. Not many are aware of the importance of lutein for eye health.
It is believed to protect against two common, age-related eye disorders, namely, cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein supplements are often recommended for people suffering from various eye problems. The antioxidant properties of this carotenoid makes it important for the eyes.

How does Lutein Work?

Lutein is present throughout the body, particularly in the eyes. It is found in the lens of the eye as well as in the retina, especially in the macula. It plays a significant role in visual sharpness and accuracy.
It is considered as an antioxidant, that protects the cells against the damage caused by naturally occurring chemicals such as free radicals, from the sun's UV rays. Free radicals can impair the immune system, resulting in various infectious and degenerative diseases.
Damage to the sensitive tissue of the macula, that is present in the center of the retina, that can lead to loss of vision, is known as macular degeneration. Free radical damage is one of the main causes of this condition and lutein proves to be effective against it.
It acts as a natural eye shade, and protects the retina from being directly exposed to the harmful light coming from the sun. It increases the density of the macular pigment, i.e., the layer of protective tissue that is present over the macula.
This pigment strengthens the eye's vital structures, and reinforces its protective capability. It helps in filtering the harmful blue light and the UV light, and thus protects against macular degeneration caused by free radicals.
Lutein is also important for protection against cataracts, which commonly occur in old age. The condition is characterized by clouding of the natural lens, causing blurred or decreased vision. Lutein helps to strengthen the cells of the lens, and improve vision.
Eye floaters are bits of debris, within the vitreous humor, which is the clear and transparent material that fills the eyeball. Eye floaters can be accompanied by flashes of light and restriction in the visual field. Lutein, along with zeaxanthin (another carotenoid), serves as the best cure for eye floaters.

Sources of Lutein

Now that you know how important this carotenoid is for the eyes, you should also be aware of the natural sources of lutein. Its insufficient intake can cause certain health problems.
It is found abundantly in dark green leafy vegetables, such as, spinach, kale, and lettuce, and yellow and orange fruits.
It is also found in egg yolk and animal fats. Now, you must be wondering how much of this carotenoid is needed by the body? Research shows that about 6 mg of lutein is necessary for optimum eye health.