The Problem with Blue Light
While we naturally get exposed to blue light from the sun, blue light from artificial sources such as computers, laptops, phones, tablets, TVs and LED fixtures have increased the amount our eyes must handle. Our eyes are efficient at blocking UV rays but they lack the ability to effectively block blue light from being absorbed in the retina (5).
There’s good evidence that constant blue light exposure can increase symptoms of eye fatigue and cause retinal damage. According to the American Optometric Association, 70% of people who work at a computer will experience some degree of eye dysfunction.
Symptoms of eye fatigue include headaches, sensitivity to glare, sore eyes, blurred vision, and trouble focusing (5).
Exposure to screens and blue light can compromise a structure in the eye called the ciliary muscle which is thought to be responsible for the symptoms of eye fatigue. While we can do our best to minimize our exposure to blue light, the reality is, it’s embedded in our daily life and here to stay. With this awareness, it’s imperative to offer support to the eyes on an ongoing basis. Of course, astaxanthin has been shown to be one of the most powerful nutrients in alleviating eye fatigue.
Mechanisms of Action
Never in human history did we expose our eyes to this much blue light. As such, the ciliary muscle didn’t evolve to cope with the stresses of the digital era. Without support, this muscle gets fatigued- resulting in eye strain. Astaxanthin has been shown to work specifically on the ciliary muscle, offering support to alleviate eye fatigue (5).
A double-blind randomized placebo control trial documented at 6mg per day, astaxanthin alleviated symptoms of eye fatigue compared to the placebo group- primarily the ability of the eye to focus and refocus, reducing screen mediated eye discomfort (3). Another study confirmed these findings by giving groups 0mg, 2mg, 4mg and 12mg of astaxanthin for 28 days. Upon assessment, they found a reduction in eye fatigue symptoms in both the 4mg and 12mg groups compared to those given 0mg and 2mg (2).
Astaxanthin crosses the blood-retinal barrier. It is, therefore, able to scavenge free radicals inflicted by blue light in both the retina and ciliary muscle (5). In addition to its antioxidant capabilities, astaxanthin is thought to mediate eye strain by increasing blood flow to the ciliary muscle. This allows it to receive more nutrients and alleviate inflammation.
Astaxanthin vs. Carrots
If there’s one nutrition fact everyone agrees on, it’s that carrots and eye health are a dynamic duo. So how does astaxanthin stack up to the beta-carotene rich carrots and other eye-loving antioxidants such as vitamin e, c, zeaxanthin, and lutein?
Astaxanthin molecules sit across the cell membrane, allowing them to scavenge free radicals and act as an anti-inflammatory both inside and outside the cell (4). This feature is unique to astaxanthin, and not shared with other carotenoids like beta-carotene. It can also transport free radicals out of the cell and into an area where vitamin C is concentrated, which is also a powerful antioxidant (4).
Astaxanthin exhibits more potent antioxidant ability than vitamin E and has shown to superior antioxidant quality to lutein and zeaxanthin as well (1,2). It’s important to note that all these nutrients work synergistically to support the eyes. The pitfall of astaxanthin is in its lack of diverse food sources, present only in wild salmon and some crustaceans. On the other hand, greens, squash, and peas are rich in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C.
Moral of this story? Eat your carrots, greens and take a Regenurex astaxanthin supplement to target eye health and reduce screen-mediated fatigue from all angles!
Disclaimer: The article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any health concerns, you should see your doctor.