Did you know that your child’s eyes develop and mature over childhood just like the rest of the body? Of course, children need good vision to learn reading, writing, arithmetic and for playtime and sports, but today’s world is also full of screens – computer, TV, and cell phone – for which eye health and good vision are key. For optimum eye health, good nutrition is necessary throughout the growing years. Lutein and zeaxanthin are special nutrients that uniquely support eye health and development. These nutrients, part of group called carotenoids, are found in some plant foods, such as squash and corn, and in egg yolks.
Research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin support healthy vision by:
- Improving our eyes’ ability to adapt to changes in light
- Enhancing the distance our eyes can see, known as our visual range
- Reducing the effects of glare
- Reducing the effects of oxidation
Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly important to the retina of the eye where they form macular pigment. This pigment screens all the light that passes through the eyes. Stronger and denser macular pigment has been shown to improve visual function. Getting abundant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin increases macular pigment density.
Some researchers believe that our eyes are most vulnerable to poor nutrition during childhood because they are not yet fully developed. Researchers also believe that declining vision in old age may be related to over-exposure and poor nutrition when we are young. There are many reasons to make sure that your child gets the best nutrition. Including lutein and zeaxanthin supplements will support your child’s eye health now and into the future. [1-4]
Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN
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References: Johnson E. Nutrition Reviews, 2014;605-612.  Stringham JM, Hammond BR. Optometry and Vision Science, 2008;85:82-88.  Bone RA, Landrum JT, et al. Journal of Nutrition, 2003;133:992-998.  Hammond BR, Fletcher LM, et al. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2014;55:8583-8589.