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Eyeing up the link to diet

Researchers are seeking participants for a study exploring the link between diet and vision

Green leafy vegetable

Researchers at the University of Manchester will embark on a study to investigate the link between diet and eye health as people age.

The project has been established in partnership between the university and the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, and is co-ordinated with the Manchester Confederation of Local Optical Committees.

Researchers on the Effect of Lutein on Vision (ELVIS) study will explore how the eye absorbs lutein during the two-year project that has been funded by international nutrition companies, Kemin and DSM. They will focus on how the eye benefits from the carotenoid, how diet influences its accumulation and how lutein absorption is affected by factors including lifestyle and cholesterol.

Lutein is obtained through particular food such as spinach and eggs. It is believed to protect against age-related macular degeneration, as well as blue light.

Lead researcher, Dr Ian Murray, said: “Research shows that as we get older the impact of lifestyle and diet becomes increasingly important. Eye health is a big factor in older people’s well-being and we’re excited to have this opportunity to better understand how we keep eyes healthy across the lifespan.” 

The researchers are calling on practices in the Manchester area to help the recruit participants who are aged 40–70 and have normal vision and good general health. They should be willing to take lutein for nine months.

Participants will have a general health examination at the start of the project, and are required to attend four future visits to the optometry department at the University of Manchester to measure lutein concentration and other key indicators, as well as a specialist eye exam.

To take part in the study, email Dr Murray on [email protected] or telephone 0161 306 3878, leaving your name and contact details.