More than 19 million Americans have visual impairment—meaning impairment that cannot be corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses—and about 700,000 are blind. Age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma are the main causes of visual impairment and blindness in older Americans.
Eye conditions that can lead to permanent visual impairment or blindness—including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma—are serious public health problems. Researchers are working to find better ways to prevent and treat these conditions, including the use of dietary supplements.
Bottom Line: Supplements containing antioxidants and zinc have been shown to reduce the likelihood that AMD will progress to the advanced stage in people who already have the intermediate stage of this disease. However, no dietary supplements have been shown to help prevent or treat cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.
- Don’t replace scientifically proven medical treatments for an eye condition with dietary supplements that are unproven. To preserve your vision, it is very important to follow the prescribed treatment for your eye condition.
- “Natural” does not necessarily mean “safe.” Learn more about the safety of dietary supplements.
For more information on eye health, visit the National Eye Institute (NEI) Web site.
Ongoing Medical Studies
This page last modified March 29, 2016