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What does macular pigment do? Why is it important to your eyes? Well, chances are good that unless you’re in the eyecare field, or have a friend or family member who has central vision issues, you may not even know you have a macula much less why it’s important.
The macula is located in the back of your eye (in the retina) and is pigment comprising three carotenoids – Zeaxanthin, Lutein, and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Macular pigment plays an important role in protecting the cones and rods that reside behind the macula, which are responsible for your central vision. Thick, dense macular pigment is like having “internal sunglasses” to block harmful blue light that can damage your eyes over time.
Click the image below for a full illustration of Internal Sunglasses:
Increased macular pigment has other benefits beyond protecting your cones and rods:
AMD – low macular pigment is a key risk factor for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Photophobia – sensitivity to light.
Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to distinguish an object from other objects or background with similar lighting.
Distance Viewing and Haze – vision improvement in an open area, the effect of haze on how far one can see.
Glare Disability and Veiling – Reduction in vision due to direct bright light or bright light at an angle.
Color Saturation – blue light spectrum tends to scatter in the eye causing a reduction of saturation of colors.
Chromatic Aberration – different wave lengths of light focus at different point in the eye causing a bluish purple outline to some objects.
Acuity - ability to see clearly is affected by contrast sensitivity, glare, and light scatter.