Of 11 top-selling ocular vitamins, seven don’t contain the ingredient dosages identical to the formulas identified by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) or AREDS2, according to a study published online in Ophthalmology

The study also found that claims made in the promotional materials of all of the products lack scientific evidence.

In their analysis, the researchers identified the five top-selling brands of ocular nutritional supplements (during June 2011 to June 2012) and compared the brands’ 11 products to the exact AREDS and AREDS2 formulas. They found that all of the products did contain the ingredients from the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas, but only four of the products had doses equivalent to AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients. Another four of the products contained lower doses of all the AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients. Also, four of the products included addition-al vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts not part of the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas.

In addition, all 11 of the products’ promotional materials contained claims that the supplements “support,” “protect,” “help” or “promote” vision and eye health; however, none had language stating that nutritional supplements have been proven effective only in people with specific stages of AMD.

The supplements’ promotional materials also lacked another important message: “At this time, nutritional supplements have yet to be proven clinically effective in preventing the onset of eye diseases such as cataracts and AMD,” Dr. Yong says. 

Results of the study’s product analysis can be found at: www.aao.org/newsroom/release/upload/Table-1-OcularNutritionalSupplements-InPress.pdf.

1. Yong JJ, Scott IU, Greenberg PB. Ocular nutritional supplements: Are their ingredients and manufacturers’ claims evidence-based? Ophthalmology. 2014 Nov 20. [Epub ahead of print]