Popular eye vitamins have misleading claims, researchers say

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Ophthalmologic researchers have said claims around popular eye vitamins, such as nutritional supplements for age-related macular degeneration, are not supported by scientific evidence.

Researchers based at at Yale-New Haven Hospital-Waterbury Hospital, Penn State College of Medicine, Providence VA Medical Center, and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University identified the five top-selling brands based on market research collected from June 2011 to June 2012, and analyzed the brands' 11 products. Only four products had equivalent doses of formula ingredients, specifically nutritional supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and zinc,  backed by evidence to help AMD. There were no statements clarifying that routine use of nutritional supplements to prevent AMD and cataracts were not supported by evidence.

"With so many vitamins out there claiming to support eye health, it's very easy for patients to be misled into buying supplements that may not bring about the desired results," said first author Jennifer J. Yong, M.D. "Our findings underscore the importance of ophthalmologists educating patients that they should only take the proven combination of nutrients and doses for AMD according to guidelines established by AREDS and AREDS2. It's also crucial that physicians remind patients that, at this time, vitamins have yet to be proven clinically effective in preventing the onset of eye diseases such as cataracts and AMD."

The results of their study were published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.