Vitamins for vision: The eyes have it

October 8, 2007

This article reveals new vitamins and dietary supplements that promote eye health.

Get ready for a slew of vitamins and supplements that are intended to promote eye health. Here's a sampling:

Bausch & Lomb is premiering Ocuvite DF, a product intended to provide nutritional support for people with diabetes. The supplement contains genistein, a compound found in soy, as well as alpha lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, and B vitamins.

According to John Stewart, Bausch & Lomb's senior product manager for nutritionals, preclinical studies have shown that high levels of genistein slow the progression of blood vessel growth in the retina. "Diabetic retinopathy is a vascular disease of the retina. It is the leading cause of vision loss in the working age population in the United States. About 10% of people who have Type 2 diabetes get diabetic retinopathy," he said.

Emphasizing that people with high glucose levels are subject to higher levels of oxidative stress, Stewart said, "When you have oxidative stress, you have free radical production and tissue damage. You need to take potent antioxidants. If diabetes patients can reduce or eliminate oxidative stress, they are less likely to get complications from diabetes like eye, liver, and kidney problems."

Bausch & Lomb is providing pharmacists with a one-page, front and back education piece, which explains the role of oxidative stress as well as Ocuvite DF's ingredients.

DSM Nutritional Products is also elbowing into eye health territory with Optisharp with zeaxanthin. The company claims zeaxanthin plays a role in reducing the risk of certain eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Bayer HealthCare is hoping to hit a home run with Bayer Nutritional Science Eye Health & Vitality, a product intended to help maintain eye health by supporting healthy cells and tissue. It contains vitamins A, C, and E and calcium, selenium, copper, a lutein/ zeaxanthin blend, bilberry powder (leaf), blueberry juice powder (fruit), carrot juice powder (root), and tomato juice powder (fruit).

Windmill is getting into the act with Prevention Vision Support tablets that contain lutein and zeaxanthin.

ICaps Lutein & Zeaxanthin is the second formula available. It contains antioxidants including vitamins A, C, and E plus selenium, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The product is formulated for people at risk of age-related eye conditions. The company claims it may also be appropriate for people with frequent exposure to sunlight.

ICaps AREDS is the third formula. Ingredients include vitamins A, C, and E and zinc and copper.