Top 10 best eye supplements
5 years ago the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology) made a research showing that all of the 11 best selling American eye supplements have misleading claims. Even more disturbing is the fact that 7 out of these 11 do not follow any proven formulas for eye health. This means you had less than 36% chance to buy eye supplements which would improve your eye health.
Today there is even a bigger choice of eye supplements on the market. This is the reason I created the following top 10 best eye supplements list. When creating the list, I took into account all of the important research related to eye health made in the last three decades.
Firstly, I will present you the top 10 list. After that I will make a review of the most notable eye health research and their results. Finally, I will make a brief overview of the vitamins I write about through article and how they improve your eye health.
10. Jarrow Formulas Lutein
Jarrow Formulas was founded by Jarrow L. Rogovin in 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA. The company was incorporated in 1988. Jarrow Formulas supports and participates in various clinical research. Also, the company is active in supporting DSHEA. Today Jarrow Formulas have hundreds of products which are available worldwide.
Jarrow Formulas Lutein has 20 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin per pill, extracted from marigold petals. Their formula provides additional protection against blue light.
- Reduces eye strain - the supplement is essential for people working in front of the monitor all day
- Decreases blurry vision - the product makes your vision clearer
- Not clinically proven - the formula is not clinically proven
- Big pills - some patients report they find the pills too big
- Bad smell - the pills smell like marigold
9. Puritan's Pride Lutein 20 mg
Puritan's Pride is founded in 1973 and has over 45 years experience in manufacturing and selling wellness products. The company produces over 1200 products which includes face and bodycare vitamins, eye supplements, sports supplements and many more. Puritan's Pride sources the ingredients of their products from 106 different countries to ensure they get the best quality.
Puritan's Pride Lutein 20 mg has a title which says it all. Apart from the lutein, it contains 0.8 mg of zeaxanthin. The product is perfect for an additional blue light protection.
- Excellent for eye strain - it serves as a shield against the damaging blue light
- Improves night vision - patients report their night vision is better
- Reduces eye floaters - the product works very well with patients with eye floaters
- Not clinically proven - the formula of the product is not clinically proven
8. Zenwise Health Lutein
Zenwise Health was founded in 2014 in Wilmington, DE, USA. They manufacture a broad range of health products. Zenwise Health have supplements for eyes, joint and mobility support, digestive support, hair, skin and nails, weight management, immune system support and many more.
Zenwise Health Lutein has 20 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin. Their formula is useful for people sitting in front of the computer for too long. Zenwise Health Lutein provides additional protection against blue light.
- High-quality product - Manufactured in the USA, in FDA-registered facility that is both NSF and GMP certified
- Reduces eye floaters - patients report this formula helps with eye floaters
- Perfect for eye strain - the 20 mg of lutein protect the eyes from blue light
- Sharpens vision - some patients report their see more clearly
- Not clinically proven - it is not based on any clinical research
7. Systane ICaps Eye Vitamin & Mineral Supplement
Alcon is one of the largest companies in the world manufacturing eye care products. The company is founded in 1945. Currently Alcon has 20,000+ employees and patients from 140 different countries. Alcon is the owner of Systane trademark.
Systane ICaps Eye Supplement is based on AREDS 1 formula. It contains beta-carotene and it is not recommended for smokers because it increases the risk of lung cancer. If you are a smoker and want to use an eye care product from Alcon, please use their eye vitamins based on AREDS 2 formula.
- Prevents AMD progression - it is perfectly suitable for patients with any form of AMD
- Supports healthy vision - has all the necessary ingredients to support your eye health
- Not recommended for smokers - it contains beta-carotene
- Expensive - pricey compared to the competitors
- A newer formula for eye health exists - although this product uses a clinically proven formula from the AREDS 1 research, the new formula from AREDS 2 is preferred
6. Lipotriad Visionary
The original Lipotriad was first introduced back in 1953 by Johnson & Johnson and was the first eye supplement in USA to contain lutein. In 2009 the Lipotriad brand was purchased by Joan McCabe. Nowadays Lipotriad continues to make products to support eye health and fight macular degeneration.
Lipotriad Visionary is based on AREDS 2 formulation. They intentionally reduced the zinc in their product to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues. Vitamin C and E dosages are lowered, too.
- High-quality - manufactured in FDA & GMP certified facility in USA
- Decreases AMD progression - adult patients report their AMD stopped progressing
- Cheap - it is one of the cheapest eye supplements on the market
- 1 pill per day - compared to other eye supplements, Lipotriad should be taken once per day
- Slightly different dosages than AREDS 2 - they intentionally lowered zinc because of GI issues. Also, vitamin E and vitamin C dosages are reduced to enable Lipotriad team to fit everything in one pill.
5. Bausch + Lomb Ocuvite 50+ Eye Vitamins
Bausch & Lomb is a huge company based in Laval, Quebec, Canada. It was founded by John Bausch and Henry Lomb in 1853 in Rochester, New York, USA, as a small optical shop. Today Bausch & Lomb is a huge corporation with over 12,000 employees. It is a global leader in manufacturing and selling eye health products. Bausch & Lomb manufactures eye lens, proprietary and generic medicines available by prescription, eye drops, eye supplements, surgical instruments and more.
Ocuvite 50+ Eye Vitamins is one of their most effective products for eye health support. It mainly targets people above 50, but it is suitable for people working in the office in front of a monitor all day. Ocuvite 50+ Eye Vitamins contains Vitamin C and E, zinc and copper, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin.
- High-quality - manufactured by one of the most respected corporations in the eye health industry
- Clearer vision - it sharpens and clarifies your vision
- Helps dry eye syndrome - some patients with dry eye syndrome report they feel their eyes more moisturized
- Big pills - some patients complain the pills are large and a bit hard to swallow
- Bad taste - the pills taste bad
4. PreserVision AREDS 2
PreserVision AREDS 2 is manufactured by one of the most popular and respected corporations in the eye health industry - Bausch & Lomb. The product is based on the AREDS 2 formula. PreserVision AREDS 2 contains vitamin C and E, zinc and copper, lutein and zeaxanthin. The only difference from AREDS 2 formula is the daily zinc dosage - it should be 25 mg instead of 80 mg. Increased amount of zinc could cause gastrointestinal issues. PreserVision AREDS 2 works perfectly for slowing down the progress of age-related macular degeneration. It is one of the best choices for maintaining your eye health, too.
- High-quality - manufactured by Bausch & Lomb - a global leader in the eye health industry
- Effective with AMD patients - it slows the age-related macular degeneration progression
- Improves dry eyes - some patients with dry eyes syndrome report their eyes improved
- A lot of zinc - it contains a lot of zinc which might cause gastrointestinal issues. The AREDS 2 formula contains 25 mg of zinc daily. This product has 80 mg of zinc per day.
- Big pills - some patients report the pills are large and could be hard to swallow
3. Pro-Optic AREDS 2 formula
Advanced Theraceuticals is a company based in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It was founded by a husband and wife with a combined 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Advanced Theraceuticals manufactures products based on studies and research by NIH (National Institutes of Health).
Pro-Optic AREDS 2 formula is an eye health supplement produced by Advanced Theraceuticals. As you can tell from the title, the product is based on AREDS 2 ingredients and it is clinically proven to support your eye health. Pro-Optic AREDS 2 formula has 200 IU of natural vitamin E which is equal to 400 IU of synthetic vitamin E.
- Big pills - some patients find the pills larger than expected. Maybe the reason is the manufacturer managed to fit everything in one pill instead of two.
2. Focus Select AREDS 2 Eye Supplement
Covalent Medical, LLC, is the company behind the Focus Vitamins. It was founded in 2011 by over 400 retina specialists. The goal of the company is to create eye supplements based on clinically proven formulas. Covalend Medical is an NSF certified and GMP compliant manufacturer.
Focus Select AREDS 2 Eye Supplement is based on the AREDS 2 formulation and is made in USA.
- High-quality product - it is made in the USA and manufactured in a certified facility
- Helps dry eye - some portion of the patients report the product reduces eye dryness
- Gelcaps instead of tablets - easier to swallow and digest than classic tablets
- Might irritate your stomach - a small portion of patients report a stomach discomfort, but this could happen with any supplement which contains zinc
1. Physician's Choice Eye Health
Physician's choice is a supplement company based in Colorado, USA. It was founded in 2016. They are known for manufacturing supplements based on clinically proven studies and are one of the most fast-growing supplement brands on Amazon.
Their product for eye health is based on AREDS 2, a study sponsored by NEI (National Eye Institute). Apart from the ingredients in the AREDS 2 formula, the doctors from Physician's choice added folate (one of the B vitamins), bilberry, grape seed and bioperine (a black pepper extract). It's truly one of the best choices for eye health supplement.
- Made in USA - manufactured in a FDA & GMP certified facility
- Vegan safe and non-GMO - It has no extra additives and could be consumed by vegans
- Helps dry eye - numerous patients report this supplement helps in case of a dry eye syndrome
- Reduces eye redness - suitable for people who spend a lot of time in front of a display
- Sharpens and clarifies vision - decreases blurry vision
- Larger capsules - the pills are a bit bigger than the other brands
- Does not taste very good - some patients reported the taste of the pills is unpleasant
Notable eye health research
What follows is a review of the most notable research in the eye supplements industry, namely AREDS 1, AREDS 2 and DREAM.
AREDS 1 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 1) is a well-known research which aimed to prove certain eye vitamins could delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), age-related cataract and vision loss. It was conducted from September 1990 to October 2001. The final study completion was in December 2006.
The study was funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI). Additional support was provided by Bausch and Lomb Pharmaceuticals. AREDS 1 had 4757 participants, aged from 55 to 80 years. Only 3640 participants could be correctly assessed due to different reasons. The average follow-up of these participants was 6.3 years.
AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is a medical condition which may result in blurred vision or central vision loss. How does AMD look? Check the following photo:
The tiny yellow or white accumulations of extracellular material you see are called drusen. It appears between the retina and the choroid, and causes retina atrophy and scarring.
Cataract is a cloudy formation of the lens of the eye. It causes a decreased vision, the patients feel like in a fog. Here is how it looks:
The AREDS 1 team came up with the following formulation: vitamin C - 500 mg, vitamin E - 400 IU, beta-carotene - 15 mg, zinc - 80 mg and copper - 2 mg. The scientists wanted to evaluate its effect on AMD progression and visual acuity. The AREDS 1 study was a success. The formula from the above reduced the risk of advanced AMD by 25% over a 5-year period of time.
AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) was a research conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI). It had the same goal as AREDS 1 - to evaluate the effect of vitamins on the age-related macular degeneration, which continues to be the leading cause of central blindness in the USA (54%). The study started in September, 2006, and ended in October 2012. 4,203 people, from 50 to 85, with some form of AMD in one of their eyes, participated in the study.
The AREDS 2 research team wanted to remove the beta-carotene from the AREDS 1 formula and to substitute it with lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the same family of nutrients - carotenoids. As opposed to beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in the retina and lens. Also, they are natural antioxidants and help the eye to absorb the damaging blue light.
The scientists from the National Eye institute wanted to test the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on the AMD and added it to the new formula. Following the advice of some nutritionists, the research team decided to decrease the zinc dose.
The final formulation of the AREDS 2 is vitamin C - 500 mg, vitamin E - 400 IU, lutein - 10 mg, zeaxanthin - 2 mg, zinc - 25 mg and copper - 2 mg.
AREDS 2 formulation has slightly better effect on the AMD progression compared to AREDS 1. For people with low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet, the risk of AMD progression was decreased by an additional 20-25%. This proves that lutein and zeaxanthin are an adequate carotenoid substitute for beta-carotene. Also, AREDS 2 research proved the omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on the vision of the participants.
DREAM (Dry Eye Assessment and Management) is an ongoing research which tests the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on people with Dry Eye Syndrome. The study started in November 2014 and will be fully completed in January 2020. DREAM is sponsored by NEI (National Eye Institute). 535 participants were treated with 3000 mg omega-3 fatty acid supplements or placebo for a period of one year.
The results until now are quite convincing. The study proved the omega-3 fatty acid supplements do not have an effect, positive or negative, on patients with Dry Eye Syndrome.
Vitamins and nutrients which improve eye health
Which vitamins and nutrients improve our vision and should be part of our dietary habits? Let's make a brief overview and answer these questions.
To have a good night and color vision, your retina needs the organic compound retinal - a form of vitamin A.
Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. As mentioned above, it should be avoided as supplement by smokers because it increases the risk of lung cancer. This is why beta-carotene was removed from AREDS 1 formulation.
Vitamin B is a group of 8 vitamins which help the cell metabolism. Vitamin B intake could decrease the risk of AMD.
Riboflavin (B2) is an antioxidant and can help our eyes against damaging free radicals. It is found in eggs, organ meats (kidneys and liver), green vegetables, cereals and more.
The Blue Mountains study suggested thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) and vitamin (B3) protect against nuclear cataract.
Vitamin C is a powerful vitamin which helps the growth and repair of tissues. It also serves as an antioxidant. Vitamin C can be found in red peppers, oranges, broccoli and many more fruits and vegeatables.
The retina has a high metabolic rate and consumes more oxygen. This results in a need for additional antioxidant protection against damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species. This is why Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for our eyes.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects cell membranes. It protects the eye cells as well. It could be found in vegetable oils, nuts and green vegetables.
Contrary to some statements that Vitamin E could reduce the risk of cataracts, this is not true. A research proved vitamin E has no effect, positive or negative, on the risk of cataract.
AREDS 2 research proves Vitamin E could slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are a part of the carotenoids - the yellow, red or orange pigments of many fruits and vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin give green color to dark leafy greens, peas and broccoli, and orange color to pumpkins and carrots.
Out of 20-30 carotenoids, which could be found in the human body, only lutein and zeaxanthin could be found in our eyes, and more specifically - in our lens and retina. These two carotenoids form the macular pigment. Lutein is well-known for its blue light filtration (source). It is essential for people working in front of a display for 8 hours a day.
AREDS 2 proved lutein and zeaxanthin could significantly reduce the progression of AMD and cataracts.
The recommended daily intake of lutein is 10 mg per day. A lutein overdose could result in a bilateral "foveal sparkles" or crystalline maculopathy, as reported from a woman in her sixties with glaucoma.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in the retina. They are thought to be effective in preventing AMD (age-related macular degeneration). As mentioned above, DREAMS research proved omega-3 essential fatty acids do not help in cases of DES (dry eye syndrome).
Zinc is an essential mineral found in meat (especially red meat), oysters, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder and many more.
Zinc is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It is needed for the metabolism of the eye and helps the retina. Zinc affects the cell membranes in a positive way.
AREDS 2 formulation uses zinc along with copper to prevent copper deficiency which results from higher level of zinc intake.
You should consult with an ophthalmologist before taking any of the recommended eye supplements in this article. The scores of the reviewed eye supplements are based on our own opinion.