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WATERFORD SCIENTISTS FIND WAY TO BOOST GOOD VISION

Source: RTÉ Mobile – Waterford scientists find way to boost good vision

New research suggests that it may be possible to improve the eye sight of people who already have 20/20 vision, just by giving them dietary supplements.

Scientists at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) found that those who were given regular doses of certain fat-soluble pigments that give plants a yellow, orange or red colour, saw a marked improvement in their visual function.

The study found that in particular, three of these carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin – had a beneficial impact.

The research has raised the prospect that people who are particularly dependent on having sharp vision, like professional drivers, pilots, high performance sports people or members of the military, could benefit from taking such supplements.

Called Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials or CREST, the study saw 105 volunteers recruited and undergo complex vision tests over the course of a year.

52 received a placebo, while the balance were given daily supplements.

Those who were part of this group saw a marked improvement in contrast sensitivity or how faint an object they could see.

Among those who participated in the testing was Waterford senior hurler and All-Star, Noel Connors.

The research was unusual as studies in this area have traditionally focused on people whose eye sight has degenerated due to ocular conditions.

The experiment was funded by the European Research Council and carried out be a team of researchers at the Macular Pigment Research Group at Nutrition Research Centre Ireland at WIT.

“All of us involved in this research are tremendously excited about the outcome – not only from a scientific perspective but also because of the significant benefits it will have for a wide range of people,” said Principal Investigator, Professor John Nolan,.

“Many people may already consider themselves to have ‘good’ eyesight, but now we know that many of these would benefit from appropriate supplementation.”

Details of the findings are published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS).