Lutein may be a member of the xanthophy II of carotenoids. It could be a non-provitamin A xanthophy II, which was different from other carotenoids. Lutein and zeaxanthin composed the macular pigments, which were found in the retina. The protective mechanism of lutein in the retina could possibly be in two important ways: the first function could relate to filtering blue light, and the second could consider to be the antioxidative activity that could quench and scavenge reactive oxygen species(ROS) induced by light. The structure and source of lutein, and association between lutein and retina macular pigment, and the role and mechanism of lutein in protecting the retina from light damage were reviewed.