Carotenoids are pigments found in red, orange, yellow, and green colored fruits and vegetables. They serve as antioxidants and contain a significant amount of cancer-fighting properties.
Carotenoids are said to contribute a lot to keep the eyes healthy according to nutrition research. Moreover, carotenoids can also protect the eyes from the harmful effects of blue light exposure and reduce risks of macular degeneration.
How Do Carotenoids Help Keep Eyes Healthy?
The macula is the center of the retina and is considered to be its most sensitive and sharpest vision part. It processes crisp and straight-ahead vision because it contains the highest concentration of photoreceptors.
Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are three dietary carotenoids or also known as the macular pigments that protect millions of photoreceptor cells in the macula. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in these of the macular pigments lessen oxidative stress on the retina. These also filter out image-degrading visible blue light to achieve sharper vision.
Best Sources of Carotenoids
Leafy green vegetables such as kale, turnip, spinach, and Swiss chard are good sources of eye-healthy carotenoids. Meso-zeaxanthin has also been found in good amounts in eggs.
Several carotenoid supplements are also available without a prescription. Top brands like MacuHealth with LMZ3 are complete sources of all three essential carotenoids — lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin.
EyePromise Zeaxanthin + Lutein is also designed to increase macular pigment optical density and help protect macular photoreceptors with the greatest available level of dietary zeaxanthin as claimed by the company.
It is best to consult your doctor to find the best carotenoid supplement for you.
Do I Need A Carotenoid Supplement?
Your eye doctor will evaluate the level of macular pigment in your eyes through the macular pigment optical density (MPOD) test. Although optical density or the thickness of macular pigment differs from one person to another and could be affected by several factors such as aging, diet, and lifestyle, MPOD testing has been proven to be accurate and repeatable.
Your macular pigment optical density test results will help your eye doctor evaluate whether your MPOD score is below normal which puts you at higher risks of vision problems and macular degeneration. Your MPOD can be redone after dietary changes and use of carotenoid supplements to improve thickness of protective macular pigment.
If your eye doctor does not test you for your MPOD level, you may be referred to an eye professional who does.