Dr. Joel Hayden, O.D., C.N.S., is passionate about helping people maintain healthy eyes and vision. As a Certified Nutritional Specialist, he shares nutritional advice with patients and the public, especially on how nutrition can benefit eye health. Dr. Hayden shares advice on the benefits of lutein for eye health on his YouTube channel.

In this blog, we’ll summarize points Dr. Hayden makes about the benefits of taking lutein for eye health, as well as good sources of lutein.

What is Lutein?

Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid pigment. Lutein and zeaxanthin, another carotenoid, are found exclusively in the macula, which is in the center of the retina in the eyes. The macula is responsible for central vision. For this reason, lutein and zeaxanthin are often thought of as eye health vitamins.

Why is Lutein Important for Eye Health?

Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet waves from the sun and can help stave off age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. People who have low density of macular pigment have a 43% higher risk to develop age-related macular degeneration. By ingesting lutein, you can build up the macular pigment in the retina and decrease the risk to develop age-related macular degeneration. Lutein also decreases the risk of developing cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachments.

How Long Does It Take for Lutein to Benefit the Eyes?

There was a study done in 2017 on 57 post-cataract surgery patients who took 6 mg of lutein a day showed an increase in macular pigment in as little as one week, and even more exciting, after discontinuing taking lutein, the increase in macular pigment stayed.

What are Good Sources of Lutein?

Good sources of lutein from food include yellow fruits and leafy green vegetables. Some of the sources include kale, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, orange peppers, kiwi, grapes, pumpkin, summer squash, zucchini, and egg yolks. It can be difficult for many people to get an adequate supply of lutein through diet alone, though. Dr. Hayden mentions a few different supplements for patients, including Ocuvite, which has 5 mg of lutein, and PreserVision, which has 6 mg of lutein. Some supplements marketed to help “eye health” don’t have sufficient lutein in them, so it’s important to pay attention to the amount of lutein in the supplement.

Book an Appointment

Dr. Joel Hayden at Hayden Optometric in Mansfield, MA is passionate about helping people maintain healthy eyes and vision. He’s an expert optometrist and certified nutritional specialist and uses the latest in technology to diagnose eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration, and he consults with patients about eye healthy nutrition. To book an comprehensive eye exam appointment, call 508-339-3952.