Getting old is no picnic. But the worst of it may be failing eyesight.
Having to use reading glasses is the least of it.
Many of us will also have to deal with cataract surgery. Or our night vision will deteriorate. Driving may become dangerous.
Some of us will also have to fight age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma, the two leading causes of blindness.
One of the biggest enemies of aging eyes is blue light.
About one third of the light we see is in the blue range. Blue light is everywhere. You can’t avoid it. Its sources include TVs, computer screens, phones…and sunlight.
Red and blue are the colors on either end of the visible light spectrum. Red light is at a longer wavelength and therefore has less energy. Blue light is at a shorter wavelength and has much more energy.i
How Blue Light Damages Your Eyesight
Light at the blue end of the spectrum can penetrate to the back of the eye. Over time, this can damage the retina. This can eventually lead to serious vision loss due to macular degeneration.ii
Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the macula. This is the central part of the retina. It’s responsible for your direct field of vision. You need the macula to read, drive, watch TV, or do anything that requires you to see fine details.iii
The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, although there is a genetic component. What is known is that blue light aggravates the condition.iv
But a Cleveland Clinic study found that two natural nutrients can help protect your eyes from blue light. Researchers there discovered that lutein and zeaxanthin shield the eye from blue light.
Lutein (pronounced LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-ah-ZAN-thin) are powerful antioxidants.v
Lutein and zeaxanthin in both its forms—RR-zeaxanthin and RS-zeaxanthin—were found to suppress genes that are involved in the eye stress caused by blue light. That’s in addition to the antioxidant protection they provide.
Double Protection for Your Vision
Lutein and zeaxanthin are readily available in supplement form. Go for a supplement that gives you at least 20 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin daily.
The two nutrients are also in a number of foods:
- Green peas
- Brussels sprouts
If macular degeneration runs in your family, it’s especially crucial to make sure you’re getting plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin You’ll reduce your risk of getting the sight-robbing condition, or keep it in check if you’re already developing it.
As you get older, good vision is crucial to your quality of life and independence. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help keep your eyesight sharp into your 70s, 80s, and beyond.