Lutein may improve vision

It is always encouraging to have evidence-based medicine to help determine the value of any intervention, drug or supplement. A recent double-blind, randomized and controlled study showed some benefit for visual acuity when participants were assigned to 20 mg of lutein.

Lutein supplementation improves visual performance in Chinese drivers: 1-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.


Shanghai First People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao-tong University, Shanghai, P.R. China.



Although it is known that the carotenoid lutein can affect visual performance, we still have much to learn about its effect in occupational populations, like drivers. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of lutein supplementation on visual function in healthy drivers with long-term light exposure.


The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 1-y intervention study. It included 120 normal participants (drivers). The active (A) group consumed 20 mg of lutein daily. Participants were assessed at baseline, 1, 3, 6, and 12 mo (V0, V1, V2, V3, and V4, respectively). Assessment included visual acuity, serum lutein concentrations, macular pigment optical density (MPOD), and visual performance. At the onset and at the end of the intervention, dietary intakes of lutein and visual-related quality of life were measured.


There was a trend (in the active group) toward an increase in best spectacle-corrected visual acuity measured, but there were no significant differences. Serum lutein and central MPOD in the active group increased significantly, whereas no change was observed in the placebo group. We observed significant increases in contrast and glare sensitivity, especially in the mesopic condition. There were significant improvements in the score of the National Eye Institute 25-Item Visual Functioning Questionnaire driving subscale in the active group.


Daily supplementation with 20 mg of lutein increases MPOD levels. Lutein may benefit driving at night and other spatial discrimination tasks carried out under low illumination.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 23360692

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