Author(s): West AL, Oren GA, Moroi SE, West AL, Oren GA, Moroi SE
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Abstract PURPOSE: To provide a perspective by reviewing the evidence for the role of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines in the common causes of visual impairment. DESIGN: Retrospective literature review. METHODS: Published studies and information found in PubMed, International Bibliographic Information of Dietary Supplements, and selected websites were reviewed for the role of nutritional and herbal medicines in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. The studies were evaluated systematically for their study design, study population, benefits, risks, biases, and criteria for the categorization of the level of evidence. RESULTS: The available evidence does support the use of certain vitamins and minerals in patients with certain forms of age-related macular degeneration. For cataracts, the available evidence does not support these supplements to prevent or treat cataracts in healthy individuals. For diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, the available evidence does not support the use of these supplements. In the category of herbal medicines, the available evidence does not support the use of herbal medicines for any of these ocular diseases. CONCLUSION: Because of the widespread use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines, ophthalmologists should be aware of their use so that they can inform patients properly when the supplements and herbal medicine are being used for eye disease.
This article was published in Am J Ophthalmol
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