I was raised in a small New England town. We did our chores ( shoveling snow, weeding the garden and mowing the lawn) then spent hours outside playing sports, hiking, swimming or just hanging out. I wore goggles when skiing but didn’t have sunglasses until much later. The only time I slathered on suntan lotion was I was “reminded” by mom prior to hitting the beach for a day of body surfing and beach play.
In my late 40s I got my first wakeup call. The DMV informed me that I needed glasses in order to drive. I saw the the first evidence of skin damage around my eyes and my dad informed the family he had cataracts which I had to look up in the dictionary.
The UV spectrum in sunlight promotes a nice summer tan but in doing so promotes the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the tissues exposed to light. Over time, ROS cause localized damage to these tissues and as our eyes and face receive the most exposure to UV light, they are the most susceptible areas to UV damage.
To help repair UV damage, animals concentrate carotenoids (antioxidants) in tissues exposed to light. O’Connor and O’Brian(1) demonstrated that the carotenoid astaxanthin could be 1000 times more powerful than other carotenoids such as Beta- Caroline. When astaxanthin is presented naturally to humans (via salmon, trout, barnyard raised chicken meat/eggs) it moves easily through the blood-brain barrier taking up residence in eye tissues to help protect the eyes from UV induced damage.
Getting old is not for the faint of heart but that doesn’t mean you have to raise the white flag. Studies have linked age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts to light-induced eye damage either by destroying photoreceptor cells (AMD) or by damaging the crystalline proteins that make up the lens (cataracts). High intake of dietary carotenoids has been shown to reduce the risk of both AMD and cataracts(2,3).
If you are not getting sufficient antioxidants in your diet consider supplementing with our Astaxanthin Gel Caps to promote eye and skin health. We also recommend using Adjuvia Beauty Cream to apply astaxanthin topically to the forehead, around and below your eyes (avoid eyelids) or any other area of your skin that has been exposed to prolonged UV exposure over extended timeframes.
1. O’Connor, I. and O’Brien, N. 1998. Modulation of UVA light-induced oxidative stress by beta-carotene, lutein and astaxanthin in cultured fi broblasts. J. Dermatol. Sci. 16, 226.
2. Seddon, J.M., Ajani, U.A., Sperduto, R.D., Hiller, R., Blair, N., Burton, T.C., Farber, M.D., Gragoudas, E.S., Haller, J., Miller, D.T., Yannuzzi, L.A. and Willett, W.1994. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 272, 1413.
3. Lyle, B.J., Mares-Perlman, J.A., Klein, B.E., Klein, R. and Greger, J.L. 1999. Antioxidant intake and risk of incident age-related nuclear cataracts in the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 149, 801