Top 10 best eye supplements

Aug 31st, 2019 (updated on Sep 4th, 2019) Milena Ilieva, MD
Vitamins
Vitamins (photo by Monofocus)

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.

Jarrow Formulas Lutein
photo by Jarrow Formulas

Jarrow Formulas Lutein

  • Recommended for: eye strain, night vision, eye floaters, eye health
  • Clinically proven: no
  • Size: 30 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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
5 / 10

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.

Puritan's Pride Lutein
photo by Puritan's Pride

Puritan's Pride Lutein 20 mg

  • Recommended for: eye strain, eye floaters, blue light protection
  • Clinically proven: no
  • Size: 120 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Not clinically proven - the formula of the product is not clinically proven
5 / 10

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.

Zenwise Health Lutein
photo by Zenwise Health

Zenwise Health Lutein

  • Recommended for: eye health, eye strain, people spending a lot of time in front of displays
  • Clinically proven: no
  • Size: 120 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Not clinically proven - it is not based on any clinical research
5 / 10

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.

Systane ICaps Eye Vitamins
photo by My Alcon

Systane ICaps Eye Vitamin & Mineral Supplement

  • Recommended for: eye health and people with AMD (age-related macular degeneration)
  • Clinically proven: yes, based on AREDS 1 formula
  • Size: 120 coated tablets
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 / 10

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.

Lipotriad Visionary
photo by Lipotriad

Lipotriad Visionary

  • Recommended for: eye health, macular health, adults with AMD
  • Clinically proven: partially based on AREDS 2
  • Size: 90 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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.
7 / 10

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.

Ocuvite 50+
photo by Ocuvite

Bausch + Lomb Ocuvite 50+ Eye Vitamins

  • Recommended for: eye health, dry eye, eye floaters, suitable for office workers or patients aged 50+
  • Clinically proven: no
  • Size: 90 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Big pills - some patients complain the pills are large and a bit hard to swallow
  • Bad taste - the pills taste bad
8 / 10

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.

PreserVision AREDS 2
photo by Bausch & Lomb

PreserVision AREDS 2

  • Recommended for: eye health, dry eyes, eye floaters, eye strain, patients with AMD
  • Clinically proven: yes, based on AREDS 2
  • Size: 120 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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
8 / 10

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.

Pro-optic AREDS 2
photo by Advanced Theraceuticals

Pro-Optic AREDS 2 formula

  • Recommended for: eye health, macula health
  • Clinically proven: yes, based on AREDS 2
  • Size: 30 capsules
Pros
  • Natural vitamin E - instead of using synthetic vitamin E (as used in the AREDS 2 research), the manufacturer uses natural vitamin E
  • High-quality - developed and manufactured in FDA cGMP compliant facilities
  • 1 pill a day - all of the AREDS 2 ingredients in one pill
Cons
  • 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.
8 / 10

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.

Focus Select Eye Vitamins
photo by Focus Vitamins

Focus Select AREDS 2 Eye Supplement

  • Recommended for: maintaining eye health, patients with any form of AMD
  • Clinically proven: yes, it is exactly the same as the AREDS 2 formula
  • Size: 180 softgels
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Might irritate your stomach - a small portion of patients report a stomach discomfort, but this could happen with any supplement which contains zinc
9 / 10

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.

Areds 2
image by Physician's choice

Physician's Choice Eye Health

  • Recommended for: eye health, eye floaters, eye strain, prolonged blue light exposure, patients with AMD
  • Clinically proven: yes, based on AREDS 2 formula
  • Size: 60 veggie capsules
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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
10 / 10

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

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:

AMD
AMD (photo by The National Center for Biotechnology Information)

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:

Cataract
Cataract (photo by National Eye Institute, CC BY)

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

AREDS 2
AREDS 2 (image by Faco Elche)

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.

In large clinical trials the National Cancer Institute proved that beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in current smokers.

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

Dream Research
Dream Research (image by Dream Study)

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.

Vitamin A

Carrots
Carrots (photo by Scott, CC BY)

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin which helps the immune system, reproduction and vision. A lot of foods are rich in vitamin A - sweet potatoes, beef liver, spinach, carrots and many more.

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

Eggs and spinach
Eggs and spinach (photo by J B, CC BY)

Vitamin B is a group of 8 vitamins which help the cell metabolism. Vitamin B intake could decrease the risk of AMD.

Thiamin (B1) is a water-soluble vitamin which is found in cereals, rice, tuna and more. Thiamin deficiency could lead to blurry vision and even vision loss.

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.

B12 is a vitamin which helps the cell metabolism in our body. A research suggested vitamin B12 could reduce the AMD in women by 34%. The participants were treated with B12 for 7.3 years.

Vitamin C

Chilli peppers
Chilli peppers (photo by Erik Forsberg, CC BY)

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

Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed (photo by Natthapat)

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

Peas
Peas (photo by Frédérique Voisin-Demery, CC BY)

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

Fish
Fish (photo by Luca Sbardella, CC BY)

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in fish (especially cold-water fatty fish like salmon and tuna), chia seeds, walnuts and many more.

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

French beef
French beef (photo by Petras Gagilas, CC BY)

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.

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Milena Ilieva
Milena Ilieva, MD
Milena Ilieva, MD
A Doctor of Medicine with 25 years of experience in the field. She graduated from the Medical University of Varna in 1992. In 2009 she graduated from the Trakia University with “General Medicine” specialty. Milena Ilieva, MD, is currently based in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and has patients of all ages, including children. She is interested in endocrinology and promotes healthy eating.
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