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Sensory

Lutein Helps Eyes

15 years, 2 months ago

80  0
Posted on Oct 02, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

People afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) -- particularly blue-eyed people -- may improve their vision by taking lutein supplements. Lutein is an antioxidant found naturally in eggs and some vegetables. It is needed by the retina to help protect against damaging short-wavelength light and molecules called free radicals that harm cells.

People afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) -- particularly blue-eyed people -- may improve their vision by taking lutein supplements. Lutein is an antioxidant found naturally in eggs and some vegetables. It is needed by the retina to help protect against damaging short-wavelength light and molecules called free radicals that harm cells. Researchers at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore recruited 16 RP patients over the Internet. Study participants took lutein supplements every morning with their breakfast for six months. Half the participants also took another supplement called DHA, which is a fatty acid found in fish oil. Ten people who were already taking vitamin A and/or beta carotene supplements prior to the study continued taking them. Researchers sent eye charts by e-mail to test participants' vision each week. Lutein seemed to help everyone, but blue-eyed people appeared to benefit more than dark-eyed people. Those taking vitamin A and beta carotene with lutein seemed to benefit the most, researchers say. However, these study participants were not physically examined by the researchers and the study was conducted entirely over the Internet. But the findings warrant more investigation on lutein and how other vitamins and antioxidants affect RP.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Journal of the American Optometric Association, spring 2000

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