How does screen time affect your eyes?
Our reliance on digital devices—whether we are using them to work, study, stay in contact with friends and family, or for entertainment—has continued to raise concern of their effect on eye health and performance. Digital devices emit high-energy blue light which is part of the visible spectrum of light. We throw on a pair of sunglasses because we have been taught to protect our eyes against the sun, but we are bombarded daily with high-energy blue light from digital screens and artificial lighting. There is an experiential element to these concerns as well. The American Optometric Association (AOA) defines digital eye strain (also referred to as computer vision syndrome) as a “group of eye- and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use,” with common symptoms including blurred vision and eyestrain.
Another factor is that there is a demographic shift occurring. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the pace at which the globe’s population is aging is much faster than in the past with the proportion over 60 years nearly doubling from 12%-22% between 2015 and 2050. With the current rate of 2.2 billion people globally having some sort of vision impairment and the majority of those affected being over the age of 50, there is a tremendous need to help an aging population maintain healthy vision into their golden years.
How does screen time affect sleep?
The sun is the biggest source of blue light and helps regulate our circadian rhythm. However, digital device use before sunrise and after sunset adds to the duration of our daily blue light exposure. And not all light is the same. While green and blue light have been shown to suppress the hormone melatonin, which is intimately linked with the sleep-wake cycle, blue light has been shown to do so more drastically. According to Harvard researchers, blue light exposure suppressed about two times the amount of melatonin while also shifting circadian rhythms two times more than green light.
Protecting eyes from computer screen
Evidence is mounting that the effects of prolonged exposure to blue light from digital devices may have both short- and long-term effects on vision and eye health. Fortunately, there are two antioxidant-packed phytonutrients—lutein and the zeaxanthin isomers—which have been shown to filter high-energy blue light. OmniActive’s B.L.U.E. (Blue Light User Exposure) study demonstrated improvements in subjects with prolonged blue light exposure from digital devices, including eye strain, fatigue, and glare tolerance through supplementation of an efficacious 24 mg dose of Lutemax 2020 (20 mg lutein and 4 mg zeaxanthin isomers). Additionally, since blue light plays a role in regulating sleep/wake cycles, it is not surprising that in the same study, Lutemax 2020 was shown to significantly improve sleep quality.
Why are the macular carotenoids important?
There are roughly 40-50 carotenoids in our diet. Yet lutein and the two zeaxanthin isomers—RR-zeaxanthin and RS (or Meso-) zeaxanthin are the only three found in the eye. At every age of our lives, these macular carotenoids have an important function. While traditionally lutein has been included in products targeted to senior population, studies have shown that lutein is found in breast milk and is now believed to be an important to support vision development. This is why it is now incorporated in many high-quality infant formulas. Moreover, there is accumulating evidence in young, healthy populations show various health and performance benefits of macular carotenoids throughout a lifetime.
A rising need for supplementation
While many other nutrients can be made naturally in the body, lutein and zeaxanthin cannot. Luckily, we can get them by enjoying a broad range of fruits and vegetables and/or through supplements, however, given how reluctant many people are to eat their green vegetables, it’s not surprising that dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin is low.
Considering the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers are cumulative and important at all stages, it is no wonder that we are now seeing more products marketed to kids, adolescents and teens, and young/middle-aged adults as well. Moreover, with the rise of digital device use in all age groups and the role that the macular carotenoids play in helping to protect against the effects of high energy blue light, these products are more relevant now than ever.
Formulating a successful blue light product
Fortune Business Insights reported that the functional food and beverage market is projected to grow to almost $520 billion in 2028 (CAGR of 9.5%), but what does that mean for an ingredient such as lutein that is notoriously difficult to formulate into applications outside of softgels and pills?
Lutemax 2020 works incredibly well in multiple deliveries. OmniActive offers Lutemax 2020 in both oil suspension and 100% vegetarian beadlets for use in a variety of supplements, food, and beverage applications. Lutemax 2020 beadlets are made using Versabead technology, which helps enhanced stability and dispersibility as well as supports bioavailability. Our advances in lutein have allowed our partners to successfully break into multiple trending areas to meet consumer demand across ages and application preferences.
Want to try Lutemax 2020 in a gummy or beverage format? We have delicious prototype samples so you can see (and taste!) for yourself. Have a question or want to try an analytical or prototype sample of Lutemax 2020? Please, reach out to us .