Eye Supplements- Who Benefits?

Walk through the vitamin aisle at your pharmacy, and you’re likely to find several different eye supplements on the shelf. Recently, special formulations of supplements have been developed that claim to promote eye health. But is an eye supplement right for you?

Who Should Consider Using an Eye Supplements?

It is important to know that despite their popularity, not everyone benefits from eye supplements. Results from two large studies found that eye supplementation may be appropriate for those with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In particular, eye supplements were found to benefit those with:

1. intermediate AMD in one or both eyes

2. advanced AMD in only one eye

For these individuals, eye supplements may help to slow the progression of AMD to a more advanced stage. However, these supplements do not prevent the development of AMD.

What Should You Look For in an Eye Supplement?

There are several components you should look for when choosing an eye supplement. These include:

•Vitamin C and Vitamin E


•Lutein and Zeaxanthin

-Absorb damaging light

-Likely serve as antioxidants

•Omega-3 Fatty Acids

-Help keep retina cells healthy


-Involved in eye protection via melanin production

Several over-the-counter products are formulated to contain these components. Examples of supplements have all or a majority of these components include:

PreserVision AREDS 2 Formula

Ocuvite Adult 50+

I – Caps AREDS 2

What about Beta Carotene?

Recently, beta-carotene has been removed from several eye supplements. This was done in response to research that found supplementation with beta-carotene led to higher rates of lung cancer among smokers. Current or former smokers should consult their healthcare provider before using an eye supplement containing beta-carotene.

Take-Away Message

Eye supplements may help slow the progression of AMD to a more advanced stage among certain individuals with AMD. If you have intermediate AMD in one or both eyes, or advanced AMD in only one eye, consider talking with your healthcare provider about whether eye supplements are right for you.


1. National Eye Institute. What the age-related eye disease studies mean for you. Updated May 2013. National Institute of Health. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from: https://nei.nih.gov/areds2/PatientFAQ

2. American Optometric Association. Diet and nutrition. Updated periodically. American Optometric Association Retrieved July 26, 2016 from http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y

3. National Eye Institute. The AREDS formulation and age-related macular degeneration. Updated November 2011. National Institute of Health. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from: https://nei.nih.gov/amd/summary