Carotenoids, found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.
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Authors from the University of Georgia compiled the results of multiple studies on the effects of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin on visual performance. These carotenoids play an important role in human vision, including a positive impact on the retina.
After reviewing the various studies, the authors concluded that macular pigments, such as lutein and zeaxanthin do have an effect on visual performance. Lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce disability and discomfort from glare, enhance contrast, and reduce photostress recovery times. They can also reduce glare from light absorption and increase the visual range.
Lead author Billy R. Hammond Jr. noted that the research of the effects of lutein and zeazanthin are important because "it is clear that they could potentially improve vision through biological means. For example, a study conducted in 2008 suggests that the pigments protect the retina and lens and perhaps even help prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract."