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  • Writer's pictureRayki Goh, MSc

How Lutein Can Protect Your Eyes from the Damaging Effects of Persistent Screen Time

Screen time skyrocketed to 9 hours and 27 minutes daily for Asian working adults in 2022, raising concerns about eye health. How does prolonged screen exposure impact our vision?

Dry eyes from extended screen time.


Dear Food People,


Have you ever stopped to think about what all that screen time is doing to your eyes? With our lives becoming increasingly digital, it's no surprise we're glued to screens more than ever. Whether it's for work, chatting with friends, or binge-watching the latest Netflix series, screens dominate our daily routine. But what's the real cost to our eye health?


According to DataReportal, the average screen time for working adults in Asia soared from 8 hours and 37 minutes in 2017 to a whopping 9 hours and 27 minutes in 2022. That's a significant increase, and the pandemic only added fuel to the fire, with digital devices becoming our lifelines during lockdowns. But here's the catch: All that screen time can wreak havoc on our eyes. From digital eye strain to dry eyes and even retinal damage, the consequences are real.


Let's take a closer look at how persistent screen time affects our precious peepers and what we can do about it. So, what happens when we stare at screens for hours on end? Well, one common issue is digital eye strain, which can leave you feeling fatigued with achy eyes and blurry vision. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt tear production and lead to dry eyes. But perhaps the most concerning is its potential to harm the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of our eyes.


Now, let's talk science. Ever heard of blue light? It's that glow emanating from your digital devices, like your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Blue light sits at the short end of the visible light spectrum, packing more energy compared to other colors like green or red. Enter lutein and zeaxanthin, our eye's unsung heroes. These antioxidants, found in foods like leafy greens, eggs, and avocados, play a crucial role in shielding our eyes from harm. When blue light comes knocking, lutein and zeaxanthin step in to block it from reaching the retina, acting like a shield against potential damage.


But their job doesn't stop there. These mighty antioxidants also double up as free radical fighters, neutralizing those unstable molecules that wreak havoc on our cells. They help prevent the formation of drusen, those pesky deposits in the retina that signal trouble, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). And here's a fun fact: lutein and zeaxanthin aren't just good for protecting our eyes; they also improve our visual function.


Studies show they boost contrast sensitivity, helping us see fine details even in low-light conditions. Plus, they amp up macular pigment optical density (MPOD), a fancy way of saying they beef up the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in our macula.


Now, you might be wondering: how much lutein should we aim for? While there's no magic number, research suggests around 20 mg a day is a good target. But forget about popping pills; you can get your daily dose by munching on a variety of foods. Think a cup of cooked spinach, a hearty egg yolk, and half an avocado—yum! But what about supplements? Do they match the authentic quality? Well, opinions vary, but one thing's for sure: nothing beats a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies. Sure, supplements have their perks, but fresh produce comes packed with a host of other nutrients to boot.


And hey, here's some good news: studies hint that lutein and zeaxanthin supplements might just be the eye-saving heroes we need. One study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found that people who took these supplements for a year showed less retinal damage compared to those who didn't. Furthermore, they lowered the risk of advanced AMD by a cool 25%.


So, there you have it—a glimpse into the impact of screen time on our eye health and how we can give our peepers some much-needed TLC. Got any thoughts or questions? Shoot us a message over at dearfoodpeople.com. We'd love to hear from you!


 

Further Reading:

  1. DataReportal. 2022. Digital 2022: Global Overview Report. Available at: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-global-overview-report

  2. Stahl, W., Krinsky, N.I., Jacob, R.A., et al. 2013. Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and age-related macular degeneration progression: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomised clinical trial. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 54(12), pp.7398-7407. doi:10.1167/iovs.13-13097


 

The information provided in our articles is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The content on our website, including articles, is not meant to endorse or promote any specific medical treatments, products, or procedures. The information provided is based on general knowledge and research at the time of writing. Medical practices and knowledge are constantly evolving, and what may have been accurate at the time of publication may not be current or applicable today.

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