People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. That may sound cryptic and philosophical but healthy eyes are definitely the window to good health. Having healthy eyes with excellent vision and eyes free of pain or other symptoms are crucial to one’s health and well-being. Our eyes are an important part of our health and most people rely on their eyes to see and make sense of the world around them. But diseases like macular degeneration can lead to partial or complete vision loss and in those cases, it is important to identify and diagnose as early as possible. Moreover, one should get eye checkups often as per their doctor’s advice and should not take eye itching or eye irritations as just some simple issue. Just like the body, one should keep eyes healthy too and a simple way to do that is proper nutrition. Good nutrition is important to keep the eyes healthy and functioning well throughout one’s lifetime. Two very important eye nutrients that may reduce the risk for macular degeneration and cataracts are lutein and zeaxanthin.
What is Lutein?
Lutein is a powerful antioxidant nutrient. It derived its name from the Latin word luteus which means yellow. It is so named as it is the yellow pigment found in some foods like carrots, corn, etc. The benefits of lutein are not limited to just the eyes and it can also contribute to better health for one’s brain, skin, and heart.
Lutein Rich Foods
It can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables but the best sources include egg yolk, kale, turnip, romaine lettuce, peas collards, broccoli, spinach, corn, and Brussel sprouts. According to The Lutein Information Bureau, lightly cooked vegetables are a better source of lutein than raw, as the lutein is released upon cooking. Always remember, “Without fat in your diet, lutein absorption is negligible”
Role of Lutein in Cataract
The health benefits of Lutein as an antioxidant are significantly found on the lens of the eye. Damage from UV light, smoking and aging contribute heavily to the development of both macular degeneration and cataracts due to free radicals. Several ocular studies reported that higher dietary intakes of lutein and vitamin E from food and dietary supplements are associated with significantly decreased risks of cataracts as one of the main factors behind the development of cataracts is deregulated levels of proteins and fibers found in the lens.
Role of Lutein in Macular Degeneration
Lutein is one of three carotenoids found in the macular pigment. Macular pigment absorbs harmful blue light, protecting the photoreceptors from damage and this pigment is present in the macular region that helps to protect the eyes from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Macular pigment density is a critical factor that suggests one’s retinal health and Lutein intake from diet can help in increasing or enhancing the density of the macular pigment, as suggested by many scientific studies.
Although nutrition is an important factor for eye health and Lutein is a key nutritional component for healthy eyes, medical diagnosis is very crucial to manage health of the eyes besides nutrition. In cases of eye disorders like macular degeneration, the conventional therapies include medication and laser surgeries but owing to the risks, researchers have come up with efficient regenerative therapeutics for eye treatments. For more information on regenerative therapies for eye disorders, contact email@example.com