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Dehydrolutein accumulates in substantial concentrations in the retina. The aim of this study was to compare antioxidant properties of dehydrolutein with other retinal carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, and their effects on ARPE-19 cells. The time-resolved detection of characteristic singlet oxygen phosphorescence was used to compare the singlet oxygen quenching rate constants of dehydrolutein, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The effects of these carotenoids on photosensitized oxidation were tested in liposomes, where photo-oxidation was induced by light in the presence of photosensi-tizers, and monitored by oximetry. To compare the uptake of dehydrolutein, lutein, and zeaxanthin, ARPE-19 cells were incubated with carotenoids for up to 19 days, and carotenoid contents were determined by spectrophotometry in cell extracts. To investigate the effects of carotenoids on photo-cytotoxicity, cells were exposed to light in the presence of rose bengal or all-trans-retinal. The results demonstrate that the rate constants for singlet oxygen quenching are 0.77 × 1010, 0.55 × 1010, and 1.23 × 1010 M−1s−1 for dehydrolutein, lutein, and zeaxanthin, respectively. Overall, dehydrolutein is similar to lutein or zeaxanthin in the protection of lipids against photosensitized oxidation. ARPE-19 cells accumulate substantial amounts of both zeaxanthin and lutein, but no detectable amounts of dehydrolutein. Cells pre-incubated with carotenoids are equally susceptible to photosensitized damage as cells without carotenoids. Carotenoids provided to cells together with the extracellular photosensitizers offer partial protection against photodamage. In conclusion, the antioxidant properties of dehydrolutein are similar to lutein and zeaxanthin. The mechanism responsible for its lack of accumulation in ARPE-19 cells deserves further investigation.