The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye

J Ophthalmol. 2015;2015:687173. doi: 10.1155/2015/687173. Epub 2015 Dec 20.

Abstract

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in the human retina and macula. Recent clinical trials have determined that age- and diet-related loss of lutein and zeaxanthin enhances phototoxic damage to the human eye and that supplementation of these carotenoids has a protective effect against photoinduced damage to the lens and the retina. Two of the major mechanisms of protection offered by lutein and zeaxanthin against age-related blue light damage are the quenching of singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species and the absorption of blue light. Determining the specific reactive intermediate(s) produced by a particular phototoxic ocular chromophore not only defines the mechanism of toxicity but can also later be used as a tool to prevent damage.

Publication types

  • Review