Lutein improves visual performance in low-light environments and night vision

Lutein is a carotenoid stored in the eye and is essential for good vision. Lutein, along with another carotenoid, zeaxanthin, helps reduce discomfort from glare and shortens the time it takes to recover from bright light. Doctors know lutein can improve vision, but few studies have tested lutein in occupations that require night vision.

In this study, 120 healthy drivers who spent an average of 10 hours per day driving during the two years before the study took a placebo or 20 mg of lutein per day. After one year, while there were no changes for placebo, those who took lutein tended to have better distance vision, and had much better sensitivity to contrast and glare, especially at night. The lutein group also had higher levels of lutein in the blood and stored in the eye, and had better visual function scores on the National Eye Institute driving scale.

Discussing their findings, doctors said that although the results do not reveal a direct link between taking lutein supplements and changes in visual acuity, the evidence is clear that lutein supplements can significantly improve visual performance and visual quality of life in low-light environments.

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