Lutein and cataract: from bench to bedside

Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2016 Oct;36(5):829-39. doi: 10.3109/07388551.2015.1049510. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


Cataract is one of the most important leading causes of blindness in the world. Extensive research showed that oxidative stress may play an important role in the initiation and progression of a cataract and other age-related eye diseases. Extra-generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in the eye tissue has been shown as one of the most important risk factors for cataracts and other age-related eye diseases. With respect to this, it can be hypothesized that dietary antioxidants may be useful in the prevention and/or mitigation of cataract. Lutein is an important xanthophyll which is widely found in different vegetables such as spinach, kale and carrots as well as some other foods such as eggs. Lutein is concentrated in the macula and suppresses the oxidative stress in the eye tissues. A plethora of literature has shown that increased lutein consumption has a close correlation with reduction in the incidence of cataract. Despite this general information, there is a negligible number of review articles considering the beneficial effects of lutein on cataracts and age-related eye diseases. The present review is aimed at discussing the role of oxidative stress in the initiation and progression of a cataract and the possible beneficial effects of lutein in maintaining retinal health and fighting cataract. We also provide a perspective on the chemistry, sources, bioavailability and safety of lutein.

Keywords: Age-related eye diseases; antioxidant; carotenoid; lens; nutraceuticals; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / toxicity
  • Biological Availability
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lutein / chemistry
  • Lutein / pharmacokinetics
  • Lutein / pharmacology*
  • Lutein / toxicity


  • Antioxidants
  • Lutein