Blue Light is Now Everywhere. Are You Prepared?
Did you know that every time you watch TV, look at your smart phone or tablet, or work on your computer, you’re exposing your eyes to blue light?
Blue light has a very short wavelength and produces a higher amount of energy than other parts of the light spectrum. Studies suggest that cumulative exposure over time to this high-energy blue light may potentially be harmful.
Why Are We Hearing More About Blue Light Now?
We have always been exposed to some blue light. Sources of blue light include the sun, digital screens, electronic devices, and fluorescent lighting.
But now, many of the TVs, computers, laptops, smart phones, and tablets we stare at daily use LED back-light technology to enhance screen brightness and clarity. That means we’re exposed to more and more sources of blue light for longer periods of time than ever before.
The Vision Council has quantified some of this data and the results are eye-opening: More than 83 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day, with more than 60 percent experiencing symptoms of digital eyestrain.1
Fortunately, there are some well-studied strategies that may help shield you from some of these developing eye health issues.
How Do Lutein and Zeaxanthin Help Digital Eyestrain?
Your first line of defense against blue light and digital eyestrain should be limiting the time you spend on electronic devices. In addition to that, supplementation is absolutely critical for the long-term health of your eyes—with premium quality lutein and zeaxanthin at the top of the list.
Of the 600 known protective carotenoids—antioxidants that help to shield against harmful free radicals—only lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin accumulate in the retina of the eye. They are especially present in the macula, which is responsible for central vision and fine detail.
These antioxidants give your macular pigment its dark yellow color and act like a filter, shielding your eyes from some of the negative effects of blue light. Plus, they help shield your eyes against high-energy-generated oxidative stress.
Are Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplements Effective?
You bet! We’ve known about the benefits of selected nutrients for eye health for decades. But it wasn’t until 2001, with the publication of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study 2, that doctors really sat up and took notice.
This was the first major clinical trial to demonstrate that nutritional supplements can be an effective in preserving the health of your macula. That study showed that high doses of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc can be truly beneficial for the long-term health of your eyes.
But it was the follow-up trial, also from NIH, that was the biggest game changer—revealing the powers of lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health. Study participants who took 20 mg of lutein daily for one year had significant increases in the density of the protective macular pigment3 (known as MPOD)—the internal “sunglasses” that shield your eyes from blue light. Plus, lutein offers robust antioxidant protection and helps with light adaptation under low light conditions.
How Much Lutein and Zeaxanthin Should You Take for Eye Health?
Changes in the eyes are inevitable with age, but there’s a lot you can do to bolster your eye health. First, don’t underestimate the power of nutrition. Good zeaxanthin and lutein-rich foods include: kale, winter squash, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, and Swiss chard.
I also recommend supplementing with 20-40 mg of lutein daily, which is the most effective dose based on the newest research. Plus, I suggest taking zeaxanthin (4–8 mg daily), and zinc (25 mg daily).
One supplement you might want to consider is Vision Essentials Ultra, which contains 40 mg of clinically validated Lutemax® 2020 lutein, which is comprised of all three macula- and retina-concentrated carotenoids, that I mentioned earlier: lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin. Aside from Lutemax 2020 lutein, Vision Essentials Gold includes additional important ingredients for macula, retina, and eye health support, plus everyday protection from the bombardment of free radicals.
2 ARED Study Research Group, Controlled Clinical Trials. 1999.20(6):573–600.
3 Chew E., et al. Ophthal. 2012 Nov; 119(11): 2282–89.