Tips on Selecting a Nutritional Supplement for Eye Health
Eye supplements are nutritional products that contain vitamins and other nutrients that have been demonstrated through research to be beneficial for maintaining eye health and good vision. These supplements are designed to add to, not replace, nutrients you get from a well-balanced diet.
Before taking a nutritional supplement to help your eyes, here are a few things you should know:
- First and foremost, before starting a regimen of eye vitamins or any dietary supplement, be sure to first discuss this with your doctor and let him/her know what other vitamins/supplements and/or prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking. There is not a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to what supplements to take. Your eye care doctor can offer you advice on proper nutrition and vitamin/mineral supplementation to help keep your eyes healthy, protect your vision, help enhance your performance, as well as make sure that these supplements are safe to be taken along with any other supplements or medication you may be taking or if you are pregnant or have a specific medical condition.
- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients. FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products. Although dietary supplement manufacturers must register their facilities with FDA, they are not required to get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. However, they are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) and FDA regulations.1 . For more information on these guidelines, click here.
- Manufacturers and distributors must make sure that all claims and information on the product label and in other labeling are truthful and not misleading. They cannot claim that their product cures, treats, or reduces the risk of a specific disease or condition unless it has been proven by research to do so. So, check to see if the advertised claims are backed by scientific or anecdotal evidence.
- The best way to ensure the quality of a product is to look for one that has been certified by an independent third-party company. Third-party testing is not required by law. However, some supplement manufacturers voluntarily choose to undergo testing to show their commitment to producing high quality products.
- For athletes, it can be helpful to look for products that are NSF Certified for Sport®. The Certified for Sport program certifies that what is on the label is in the bottle and that the product does not contain unsafe levels of contaminants, prohibited substances or masking agents. Certification also means that supplement manufacturers and their suppliers meet stringent certification guidelines developed through a consensus process involving regulatory, sports industry and consumer groups.2
- When choosing vision supplements, look for a multivitamin, rather than buying each vitamin and nutrient separately. A biochemically-balanced (full-spectrum) multiple vitamin can help fill in the nutritional gaps of a less-than-optimal diet.
- Capsules and softgels are often absorbed better than hard tablets and may cause less stomach upset. Liquids and powders are also an effective way to get nutritional supplements absorbed easier as well.
- Supplements come with a manufactured suggested serving size or dosage direction. It is best to consult with your healthcare provider before buying supplements as the dosage you should take may differ from the amount the manufacturer recommends.
- Check for an expiration date to make sure the supplement you are purchasing is fresh. Make sure the seal on the bottle has not been broken.
- Dietary Supplements, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements, Accessed 4/16/21
- NSF International Certified for Sport program https://www.nsfsport.com/about-us/, Accessed 4/21/21
This important health information has been made available thanks to an educational grant provided by MacuHealth. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by ISVA.