Diabetes is a disease of blood glucose regulation. The endpoint of diabetes is elevated levels of blood sugar and this can have a damaging long-term effect on various physiological functions. High levels of glucose is problematic in the blood because it can cross link with proteins to cause the production of glycoproteins that interfere with normal physiological function. In the eye, raised levels of blood glucose can be a cause of diabetic retinopathy, which if left untreated can cause blindness. Carotenoids may offer protection from diabetic retinopathy, because they are able to accumulate in the retina of the eye and here they may delay or inhibit the damage caused by high levels of blood glucose. In particular. one group of carotenoids, the xanthophylls, may accumulate in the eye and interfere with glycoprotein production through their antioxidant effect. Studies show that carotenoids are beneficial to the eye and may improve visual acuity, and therefore consuming a diet high in a variety of carotenoids may be a sensible health.
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