Antioxidants and carotenoids improve eyesight

Antioxidants and carotenoids cut the risk for cataracts and improved vision, two new studies reveal.

In the first study of its kind to measure the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on cataracts, researchers analyzed the diets of 35,551 female health professionals who did not have cataracts and followed the women for 10 years. After adjusting for smoking, drinking, body mass and other factors, researchers found that compared to women who consumed the least lutein and zeaxanthin, women who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin were 18 percent less likely to develop cataracts. Women who consumed the most vitamin E were 14 percent less likely to develop cataracts than were those who consumed the least vitamin E.

In an antioxidant and carotenoid study of 27 men and women, average age 70, with early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers gave a daily supplement to 15 of the participants and a placebo to the remaining 12 for one year. Doctors also compared those in the supplement group to 15 healthy people of similar age at the start of the study. At the end of the study, those in the supplement group had significantly better eyesight in the center of the field of vision, while the placebo group had not improved.

The eye supplements from the AMD study included vitamin C (180 mg), vitamin E (30 mg), zinc (22.5 mg), copper (1 mg), lutein (10 mg), zeaxanthin (1 mg) and astaxanthin (4 mg).

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