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2013-01-30

Night Vision the Natural Way

A new randomized, controlled study on lutein has found that daily consumption of at least 20 mg improved night vision contrast and glare sensitivity.

To study this, the researchers recruited 120 people who spent a daily average of 10 hours driving. The volunteers were randomized to receive either a lutein supplement (20 mg/day) or placebo for one year.

The end-points measured were serum lutein concentrations, macular pigment optical density (MPOD), visual acuity, and visual performance at regular intervals during the study. 

Although the results showed that there was a trend towards improved visual acuity in the lutein group, it did not reach statistical significance. However, significant increases were seen in contrast and glare sensitivity, especially in the mesopic (low-light) condition.

Previously, lutein was also shown to improve photostress recovery (shortened the time it took for vision to return to normal after being blinded by bright light, which would be beneficial if blinded by oncoming headlights while driving, where every second of "blindness" counts).

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids vital for eye health. Both are found in high concentrations in the macula, a small yellow spot on the retina. These are the only carotenoids that can filter the harmful blue light and UV light than can damage the cells in the eye. Too little macular pigment can allow these harmful wavelengths of light to wreck havoc in the eye. Studies have shown that maintaining high levels of both macular pigments can help maintain eye health and reduce the risk of diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


Source: Lutein supplementation improves visual performance in Chinese drivers: 1-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

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