Posted on Feb 13, 2013, 6 a.m.
Daily supplements of lutein, a carotenoid compound, may help to improve vision under low ambient light conditions.
Carotenoids are plant-based pigments that lend carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, papaya, bell peppers, and tomatoes their bright colors. Previous studies have suggested that consumption of carotenoids may be valuable in the prevention of cancers, heart disease and eye degeneration. Researchers from the Shanghai First People's Hospital (China) enrolled 120 healthy men and women who spent an average of 10 hours a day driving during the two years before the studies start, randomizing the group to receive either a lutein supplement (20 mg) or placebo, for one year. Markers of visual acuity, serum lutein concentrations, macular pigment ocular density, and visual performance were monitored at regular intervals. The lutein grouped tended towards improved visual acuity, with significant increases in serum lutein levels and central macular pigment ocular density . The lutein is supplemented subjects experienced lower glare sensitivity and improved vision under low ambient illumination conditions. The study authors conclude that: "Daily supplementation with 20 mg of lutein increases [macular pigment ocular density] levels. Lutein may benefit driving at night and other spatial discrimination tasks carried out under low illumination.”
Yuan Yao, Qing-hua Qiu, Xing-Wei Wu, Zheng-yuan Cai, et al. “Lutein supplementation improves visual performance in Chinese drivers: 1-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Nutrition, 28 January 2013.