Purpose: To investigate the photochemical degradation of trypan blue (TB) and to identify decomposition products. Methods: Defined solution samples of TB and a mixture with lutein/zeaxanthin were exposed to blue light. Thermal degradation processes were ruled out using controls not subjected to irradiation. All samples were analyzed using optical microscopy, UV/Vis spectroscopy, matrixassisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry. Degradation kinetics were determined based on changes in absorbance; intermediates were identified by analyzing mass differences of characteristic fragment ion peaks within the fragmentation patterns, and assignments were verified by NMR. Results: TB demonstrated a photochemical degradation, which can be triggered by lutein/zeaxanthin. Intermediates vary depending on the presence of lutein/zeaxanthin. The self-sensitized photodegradation of TB occurs under generation of dimethyl sulfate and presumed formation of phenol. In contrast, within the presence of lutein/zeaxanthin the decomposition of TB indicates the formation of methoxyamine and sulfonyl arin. Thermal degradation processes were not observed. Conclusions: TB demonstrated a photodegradation that may be triggered by lutein/zeaxanthin and results in the formation of cytotoxic decomposition products. Our findings contribute to understand degradation mechanisms of TB and may elucidate previous clinical and experimental observations of cellular toxicity after TB application.