Lutein & Zeaxanthin (2008, 2016): Choroidal Neovascularization


Learn more about the choroidal neovascularization.

Scientists have established that macular pigments are located in the retina. Lutein (in the periphery of the macula) and zeaxanthin (in the central area of the macula) make up these carotenoid macular pigments discussed in the following studies.


This study focused on the role of macular pigment in which lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin are highly concentrated and where they work to do a number of tasks in addition to filtering blue light. Lutein is the primary carotenoid in the periphery of the macula, zeaxanthin more toward the center, and meso-zeasanthin in the very center of the macula.

These carotenoids help vision in several ways.

  • Many studies have demonstrated that the three carotenoids improve recovery from macular degeneration, especially protecting against onset of late or advanced macular degeneration (wet AMD or choroidal neovascularization (CNV)), and reducing risk for those who are genetically pre-disposed towards the condition.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce glare discomfort and glare recovery time.
  • They improve the functioning of the macula through comprising the pigment layer which filters blue light.
  • They positively impact the speed at which the optic nerve transmits information to the rest of the brain.
  • Lutein levels have been found to improve vision adaption from light to dark and from dark to light.
  • Research also shows promising results between higher levels of the carotenoids and lower risk of diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.
  • There have been mixed results concerning the relationship of the carotenoids and cataracts.

Researchers: Veronica Castro Lima, et al.
Published: Macular pigment in retinal health and disease, International Journal of Retina and Vitreous, August, 2016.


A longitudinal study substantiated earlier conclusions.

Over 10 years researchers evaluated the diets and antioxidant supplementation and the long-term risk of age-related macular degeneration in over 2400 patients.

Subjects with greater levels of lutein and zeaxanthin intake had a reduced risk of the advanced form of wet macular degeneration, and those patients with intake levels above the median level had a lower risk of soft drusen, the fatty deposits that are characteristic of AMD.

The researchers reported that high consumption of these nutrients through diet and/or supplementation significantly reduced the risk of developing macular degeneration. It also confirmed findings about other nutrients from the first AREDS study.

Researchers: J.S.L. Tan, J.J. Wang, V. Flood, E. Rochtchina, W. Smith, P. Mitchell, Centre for Vision Research, University of Sidney, Australia
Published: Dietary Antioxidants and the Long-term Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Blue Mountains Eye Study, Ophthalmology, February 2008