Lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients found in eggs, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness among the elderly.
The study involved 4,519 people aged 60 to 80 who were questioned about their dietary habits for a period of six years.
Participants who ate the most foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin (those in the top fifth) had a 35 percent lower risk of developing AMD than those who ate the least (in the bottom fifth).
The nutrients may protect against the condition by helping your eyes to filter dangerous short-wavelength light, and warding off other potentially damaging effects to the center of your eye’s retina (the macula).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, which are responsible for the yellow color in many fruits and vegetables.
Over 1 million Americans, particularly those older than 65, have AMD.
Archives of Ophthalmology September 2007, Vol. 125 No. 9
Reuters September 10, 2007