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Nutrients Preserve Vision in Aging

October 22, 2021

By Campbell's Nutrition

Lutein, zeaxanthin improved night vision

Driving at dusk and at night is difficult for many, especially older adults, as the useful field of view (UFOV)—the area visible without moving the head or eye—shrinks with age. Evidence suggests carotenoid pigments in the macula of the eye that support healthy vision may play a role. In this study, 33 men and women, average age 63, with 20/25 vision or better, took a placebo or two carotenoids: 7 mg of lutein plus 14 mg of zeaxanthin, per day. After six months, while the placebo group had not changed, those taking lutein and zeaxanthin recovered vision in both eyes more quickly under glare conditions, and had better vision in low-light conditions. Also, macular pigment optical density—the amount of carotenoids in the macula—improved in both the left and right eyes of those taking lutein and zeaxanthin, but did not change for placebo.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 9, nu13093191

EPA and DHA reduced early-stage AMD

People with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) gradually lose sight in the center of the field of vision. In addition to carotenoids, fatty acids such as EPA and DHA appear to be protective. In this review of 11 AMD studies covering 167,581 participants, and ranging from three to 28 years, doctors compared the amounts of EPA and DHA in the diets and the chances for developing early-stage AMD. Overall, those with good amounts of EPA and DHA in the diet were less likely to develop early AMD. Doctors found a direct link: each 1 gram per day increase in EPA and DHA reduced chances for early AMD by 60 and 50 percent, respectively. Discussing the findings, doctors said EPA and DHA—found in fish oil—were the only polyunsaturated fatty acids they studied that delivered a benefit in reducing chances for early AMD.

Reference: European Journal of Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 60, No. 6, 3013-27

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