- It’s important to shade your eyes from sun exposure.
- The macular pigment in your eyes acts like internal sunglasses.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two nutrients necessary to filter blue light from the sun’s rays.
- Foods to add to your diet with Lutein and Zeaxanthin include lettuce, kale, peas, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and red peppers.
Summertime welcomes long sunny days. When in the sunshine, most people use sunscreen or put on a hat to protect their skin from the sun’s rays. It’s important to protect your skin, but what about protecting your eyes from these same rays? Yes, occasionally people will wear sunglasses, but mainly because it’s too bright to see. Most people don’t think about UV light exposure from the sun or what it might mean for their eye health. In this article we’ll talk about why it’s important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight and how you can help maintain healthy vision with your diet.
Why is it Important to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun?
It’s important to protect your eyes from the sun because your eyes play a role in everything you see and do. Taking care of your eyes can help you maintain optimal vision, creating less ocular stress and discomfort. This is why it’s important to protect your eyes with external sunglasses, but did you know your eyes have internal sunglasses as well? The internal sunglasses in your eyes are called the macular pigment and this thin layer acts as a filter for the absorption of blue light in your eyes. Quality of vision is maintained by the macular pigment, therefore the macular pigment helps to maintain crisp vision. This is another reason it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun.
How Do I Nourish My Macular Pigment?
The macular pigment is made up of three carotenoids called Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-ZeaxanthinAll three of these nutrients collect at the central retina area in back of your eye. The macular pigment uses these nutrients to absorb blue light. The best way to get carotenoids is from your daily meals. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are essential nutrients which means that the body cannot make them or store them. These two carotenoids are what give fruits and vegetables their unique colors. Since the human body cannot make them or store them, we must get them by incorporating fruits and vegetables into our daily diets. Some foods that contain higher amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthin include lettuce, kale, peas, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and red peppers. Egg yolks are also a great non-plant source of these essential carotenoids.
Eye research recommends 10mgs of Lutein and 2mgs of Zeaxanthin daily to maintain a healthy macular pigment. This is one reason to make sure you are eating the recommended 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables full of Lutein and Zeaxanthin can help provide “shade” for your eyes from UV rays and blue light. In addition to eating fruits and vegetables, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following to protect your eyes:
- Wear a hat along with your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed hats are best.
- Protect children and senior citizens with hats and sunglasses. Everyone has eyes!
- Know that clouds don't block UV light. The sun's rays can pass through haze and clouds.
- Sunlight is strongest midday to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off water, ice, or snow.
- Never look directly at the sun.
Unfortunately, the typical American diet may not include enough of these daily food sources to maintain a healthy macular pigment. For example, 1 cup of broccoli equals only 1.6mgs of Lutein. This means you would need to eat 10 cups of broccoli per day to achieve the recommended daily serving. Fortunately, there are eye health supplements that include Lutein and Zeaxanthin to ensure we’re getting enough of these nutrients daily. For this reason, most healthcare professionals recommend supplementation to maintain ocular health. There are many choices including Lumega-Z.
What is Lumega-Z?
Lumega-Z is a vision specific supplement designed specifically to maintain the protective macular pigment. Lumega-Z includes all three carotenoids for maximum benefit. It was formulated based on the AREDS2 research with a robust addition of antioxidants and essential nutrients. Lumega-Z has also been shown in research to replenish and maintain the macular pigment. Its liquid formula provides better absorption that the leading eye vitamin to ensure that the nutrients are readily available for the body’s use.
Our eyes have an impact on every waking moment and all that we do during the day. Taking the extra steps to shade your eyes while enjoying time outside, in addition to getting plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and/or supplementing with an eye health vitamin will help you maintain healthy vision for as long as possible. Your eyes will thank you!
The Sun, UV Light, and Your Eyes | American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
Macular Pigment and It’s Contribution to Vision | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Macular Pigment in Retinal Health and Disease | International Journal of Retina and Vitreous | BMC
Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Vision | WebMD
Visual Function and Macular Carotenoid Changes in Eyes with Retinal Drusen-An Open Label Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare a Micronized Lipid-Based Carotenoid Liquid Supplementation and AREDS-2 Formula | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations – United States, 2019 | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Last Updated On: August 24, 2023
First Published On: August 24, 2023