Zeaxanthin a form of carotenoid is important for normal eye health and functioning. It is found in vegetables and other plants. In human, it exists in high concentrations in the macula which gives it a yellow color. Generally, it helps promote a healthy visual and ocular system.
Just like other common antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, zeaxanthin has antioxidation properties. Its role as an antioxidant protects the eye cells from the damaging effects of the free radicals. Zeaxanthin scavenges and eliminates the radicals thus protecting the underlying eye structures from oxidative damage. Excessive exposure to free radicals coupled with oxidation clouds the lens thus impairing vision. It filters short-wavelengths that cause the formation of radicals potentially counteracted by zeaxanthin.
Zeaxanthin is responsible for the formation of a yellow pigment (macular pigment) that is photoprotective. This protects the eye from the lethal light frequencies that may have a long-term effect on the eye health.
According to research, the nutrient also enhances night vision and improves visual acuity by providing lens support. For the lens to properly collect and focus light on the retina, it should be clear. With time oxidation of the lens may make it cloudy. However, zeaxanthin antioxidant properties help keep the lens clear.
Zeaxanthin helps to ensures the eye structures are well oxygenated especially the retina that is only supplied by the retinal artery.
Humans cannot bio-synthesize zeaxanthin. Obtaining adequate amounts of zeaxanthin from dietary sources is crucial. The consumption of zeaxanthin plays a significant role in the maintenance of proper eye health. Nutritional sources of zeaxanthin include greeny vegetables including, kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, and zucchini.