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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2015, Article ID 687173, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/687173
Review Article

The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye

Department of Natural Sciences, Fordham University, New York City, NY 10023, USA

Received 6 August 2015; Accepted 15 November 2015

Academic Editor: Patrik Schatz

Copyright © 2015 Joan E. Roberts and Jessica Dennison. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in the human retina and macula. Recent clinical trials have determined that age- and diet-related loss of lutein and zeaxanthin enhances phototoxic damage to the human eye and that supplementation of these carotenoids has a protective effect against photoinduced damage to the lens and the retina. Two of the major mechanisms of protection offered by lutein and zeaxanthin against age-related blue light damage are the quenching of singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species and the absorption of blue light. Determining the specific reactive intermediate(s) produced by a particular phototoxic ocular chromophore not only defines the mechanism of toxicity but can also later be used as a tool to prevent damage.