MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than half of all Americans take some type of a daily vitamin or nutritional supplement, even though recent research says a multivitamin has little if any long term health benefit.
However, Optometrists say some vitamins marketed as beneficial for eyes do play a role in reducing your risk for macular degeneration.
Publix Supermarkets, for example, stocks more than 15 different brands of eye vitamins. Target also has more than a dozen options.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Optometrist Dr. Mark Dunbar said recent research shows they do work.
“There’s some good data to suggest that eye vitamins lower the risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration,” said Dr. Dunbar. “Taking one won’t make your eyes more blue or green. They don’t offer any effects on the front of the eye; it’s all in the back of your eye.”
Dr. Dunbar said eye vitamins on the market today provide nutritional support to your retina.
“They may allow better contrast sensitivity. They also may improve patients who are really sensitive to glare and sunlight,” said Dr. Dunbar.
Dr. Dunbar said that if you choose to take an eye vitamin, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor first.
He said eye vitamins with Lutein and Zeaxanthin appear to provide the most benefit.
“Those are the protective pigments in the eye,” said Dr. Dunbar.
He also advises a yearly eye exam is very important. If you don’t have vision insurance, there are several programs available through the Miami-Dade County Optometric Association, including the Dr. Bruce Heiken Memorial Fund, that can help families with children who cannot afford an eye exam.