Carotenoids and ocular disease: a review

Hannah E. Bartlett, Frank Eperjesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Carotenoids are not considered to be essential nutrients, but their antioxidant and photoprotective properties have prompted interest in their potential role in disease prevention. Our aim is to review the evidence In relation to ocular disease. Method: Web of Science and Medline via PubMed database search. Results Lutein and zeaxanthin intake has been associated with a 22% reduced risk of cataract extraction in women (RR 0.78, p = 0.04), and a 19% lower risk of cataract in men (RR 0.8, p = 0, 03). A randomised controlled trial (RCT) found a significant improvement in visual acuity in cataract patients supplemented with lutein. Two RCTs investigating the effect of P-carotene, in combination with other nutrients, on cataract report conflicting results. Several studies show no inverse association between cataract and P-carotene. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the human macula. RCTs have found beneficial effects of both lutein and beta-carotene supplementation, in combination with other antioxidants, on visual function age-related macular disease affected subjects. Evidence for a role of lutein in preventing deterioration of visual function in retinitis pigmentosa patients is conflicting. CONCLUSIONS: Further research into the role of lutein and zeaxanthin in prevention of onset and progression of ocular disease is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-21
Number of pages3
JournalAgro Food Industry Hi-Tech
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • carotenoids and ocular disease
  • lutein and zeaxanthin intake
  • randomised controlled trial
  • retinitis pigmentosa patients


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