I have glaucoma. Can eye vitamins improve my vision or protect me from further vision loss?
Answer From Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O.D.
Probably not. Several dietary supplements are marketed as eye vitamins. But little evidence supports using these products for preventing glaucoma or reversing vision loss due to glaucoma.
Few clinical trials of eye vitamins or supplements for glaucoma have been conducted. Some evidence suggests that a high intake of vitamin B through dietary sources, including green leafy vegetables, may reduce the risk of some types of glaucoma. But B complex supplements, including folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, don't appear to offer the same benefit.
Other studies have found that antioxidants as well as natural compounds such as Ginkgo biloba, tropical fruits and green tea, among others, may slow the progression of glaucoma, but the evidence so far is weak. And while some research has found that vitamin C supplements may decrease the risk of getting glaucoma, more research is needed.
If you're interested in trying eye vitamins or supplements, discuss the benefits and risks with your eye doctor.
Feb. 24, 2018
Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Antón-López, et al. Lifestyles guide and glaucoma (II). Diet, supplements, drugs, sleep, pregnancy, and systemic hypertension. Archivos de la Sociedad Espanola de Oftalmología. 2018;93:76.
- Kang JH, et al. A prospective study of folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 intake in relation to exfoliation glaucoma or suspected exfoliation glaucoma. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2014;132:549.
- Kang JH, et al. Association of dietary nitrate intake with primary open-angle glauco~ma: A prospective analysis from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2016;134:294.
- Rakel D, ed. Age-related macular degeneration. In: Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2018.
- Pinazo-Duran MD, et al. Strategies to reduce oxidative stress in glaucoma patients. Current Neuropharmacology. In press. Accessed Jan. 26, 2018.
- Softing Hataye AL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 9, 2018.