Zeaxanthin is thought to be incredibly beneficial for the eyes because it concentrates in the macula, specifically in the very center. There, it helps to prevent damaging blue light rays from wreaking havoc on the cells of the macula, the area of the retina (in the back of the eye) responsible for seeing in fine detail. The macula allows us to drive, read, write, recognize faces, and function during any other small detail task. Zeaxanthin is joined in the macula by carotenoids lutein and meso-zeaxanthin as well, and all function in much the same way to protect the cells of the eye.
These carotenoids appear to function as antioxidants in the body, acting alongside other antioxidants like Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants work to guard the eyes against oxidative damage from free radicals that can build up and destroy the cells of the eye, leading to diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and others.
There have been many studies showing that zeaxanthin, when partnered with lutein and a few select vitamins and minerals, can be beneficial in preventing the development of AMD. The most significant study to note is the AREDS2 study which demonstrated that those with early macular degeneration who took the studied supplement containing 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin daily for 5 years experienced a 10-25 percent reduction in the risk of AMD progression.
This is huge!