Reduced absorption capacity in patients with intestinal resections (IR) could result in malabsorption of fat-soluble components like carotenoids, which are of clinical interest in relation to visual health. In this case cohort, we investigated the association between IR and serum lutein, zeaxanthin, β-carotene and macular pigment optical density, when compared with healthy controls. Ten patients with IR and twelve healthy controls were included in the study. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups, except for higher serum TAG (P < 0·05) and shorter bowel length (P < 0·0001) in the group with IR. Serum lutein, zeaxanthin, β-carotene and macular pigment optical density were >15 % lower in the patient group compared with healthy controls (P < 0·05, adjusted for age) and, in the case of serum lutein and zeaxanthin, also for dietary intake of carotenoids. Results suggest that for a test of macular carotenoid supplementation, subjects with a potentially clinically significant carotenoid deficit could be recruited among patients with IR.