Astaxanthin, Lutein Helps Relieve Computer Eye Strain

Computer eye strain affects over 90% of frequent computer users.  Eye fatigue is a frequent companion to computer eye strain.

A number of Japanese studies show how eye fatigue (often resulting from ongoing computer use) can be significantly reduced by supplementing with just 6mg of astaxanthin per day in just 4 weeks. Eye fatigue symptoms include tiredness, soreness, dryness and blurry vision.

Other randomized double blind placebo controlled pilot studies demonstrated the positive effects of astaxanthin supplementation on visual function. In one study, 13 participants who  received 5 mg astaxanthin per day for one month showed a 54% reduction of eye fatigue complaints.

In another study focused on sports vision depth perception and critical flicker fusion (this is the rate at which a light which changes actually appears to be steady) had improved by 46% and 5% respectively when participants took a daily does of 6 mg of astaxanthin. The effect of astaxanthin on visual performance prompted a number of other clinical studies to evaluate the optimum dose and identify the mechanism of action.

An astaxanthin-treated group (including only people who were asthenopia-negative) were able to recover more quickly than a control group after heavy visual stimulus. Later, Iwasaki & Tawara (2006) also confirmed the same tendencies of subjective eye fatigue complaints in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled double-crossover study.

Lutein May Help Visual Contrast Sensitivity for Computer Users

Lutein is known to be an essential nutrient in helping prevent the onset of macular degeneration. Researchers now believe that lutein may also help protect against the detrimental effects of long-term computer display light exposure.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that improvements in the eye’s sensitivity to contrast on a computer screen were observed following 12 weeks of supplementation with lutein.

Scientists at the Peking University in China studied 37 healthy individuals aged 22 to 30 who had long-term computer display light exposure. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group was given placebos, one group was given 6 milligrams of lutein daily, and one group was given 12 milligrams of lutein daily.

Levels of serum lutein and visual performance indices such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and glare sensitivity were measured at the beginning of the study and again at 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks researchers found an increase in blood levels of lutein in both lutein groups. The study authors noted: “Visual function in healthy subjects who received the lutein supplement improved, especially in contrast sensitivity, suggesting that a higher intake of lutein may have beneficial effects on the visual performance.”

Lutein can be found in green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Learn about food sources for nutrients important to good eye health, including lutein.

SOURCE: “A 12-week lutein supplementation improves visual function in Chinese people with long-term computer display light exposure”, Ma, et al, British Journal of Nutrition, Published online by Cambridge University Press 19 Feb 2009

Next: Nutritional support, diet, & lifestyle tips for those who spend a lot of time on the computer.