4 Simple Nutrients That Will Save Your Eyes From Blue Light
July 3, 2020 | Written by Jessie Mckinney & Courtney Pridham, Bsc
The topic of “light” might be trickier than you’d think. When you look at the sun, brighten your home, or stare into your computer screen the light you’re seeing is actually made up of a broad spectrum of different kinds of light, all of which can have effects on your eyes, skin, and overall health.
Because blue light is so close on the spectrum to ultraviolet light, it has caused alarm for many ophthalmologists and is currently on the radar of numerous eye health studies. In this post, we’ll show you what exactly blue light is, how it affects your vision, and how supplementing these four simple nutrients can protect your eyes from the damaging effects of blue light. (10)
Blue Light and Eye Health
Combining Omega-3’s and Carotenoids
Unfortunately the third macular carotenoid, meso-zeaxanthin, which is the most powerful of the three in terms of its antioxidant properties, is not readily found in most foods. In the original formulation of AREDS, beta carotene was included as the sole carotenoid of the formula, yielding few results and leading to further formulation. The formulation of AREDS-2 found that replacing beta carotene with a combination of lutein and zeaxanthin produced far better results, including an 18% decrease in late age-related macular degeneration, and a 22% decline in blindness-inducing neovascular macular degeneration. (4)
Recent research suggests that supplementing Omega-3’s such as DHA in combination with carotenoids such as can be critical in protecting the retina against blue light. (7)
These studies have recently influenced the way many ophthalmologists think about carotenoids and the way they recommend dietary supplements to their patients.
Adding Meso-zeaxanthin Shows Increased MPOD
Increasing the intake of Omega-3’s and carotenoids can help maintain the health of the eye. The 2013 LUTEGA study found that patients with early/mild age-related macular degeneration that were supplemented once- or twice-daily with lutein, zeaxanthin, low-dose Omega-3s (100 mg DHA, 30 mg EPA), and antioxidant nutrients for one year showed significantly improved MPOD, while MPOD was decreased in unsupplemented placebo recipients. (5) Later, a 2016 study proved that supplementing xanthophyll carotenoids (including the combination of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin) consistently correlated with significant increases in MPOD. (8) These benefits were found in patients with macular degeneration as well as within otherwise healthy subjects. Trials using meso-zeaxanthin have shown to produce the greatest increases in MPOD, suggesting that this nutrient is an essential addition to lutein/zeaxanthin supplements for eye health.
The Bottom Line
- Abdel-Aal, E., Akhtar, H., Zaheer, K., & Ali, R. (2013, April 9). Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/
- Akuffo et al, K. (n.d.). Sustained Supplementation and Monitored Response With Differing Carotenoid Formulations in Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25976647/
- Bill Hefner, O. (2015). Warding off the Blues. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://www.revieweducationgroup.com/ce/warding-off-the-blues
- Chew, E. (2016). Secondary Analyses of the Effects of lutein/zeaxanthin on Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progression: AREDS2 Report No. 3. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24310343/
- Dawczynski, J. (2013, May 22). Long Term Effects of Lutein, Zeaxanthin and omega-3-LCPUFAs Supplementation on Optical Density of Macular Pigment in AMD Patients: The LUTEGA Study. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23695657/
- Fischer, D. (2016). Stimulating Axonal Regeneration of Mature Retinal Ganglion Cells and Overcoming Inhibitory Signaling. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22293973/
- Loskutova, E., Nolan, J., Howard, A., & Beatty, S. (2013, May 29). Macular pigment and its contribution to vision. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725486/
- Ma, L. (n.d.). Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-zeaxanthin Supplementation Associated With Macular Pigment Optical Density. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27420092/
- Yanoga, F., MD. (2019, June 13). Does blue light from electronic devices damage our eyes? Retrieved from https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/blue-light-and-vision
- Zhao, Z., Zhou, Y., Tan, G., & Li, J. (2018, December 18). Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288536/