Do We Really Need Eye Supplements To Save Our Screen-Tired Retinas?

That's what the makers of new eye supplement MacuShield claim. But does it stack up or is it simply scaremongering? Photograph by Molly Cranna


by Suzanne Scott |
Published on

I don't consider myself boho, but right now I'm taking fish oils for my skin and memory, biotin and kelp for my hair, and a whole host of antioxidants for just about everything else. In short, I'm downing supplements like they're peanut M&Ms.

Now, there's news that I need to add another to my daily diet, specifically one for our eyes that are apparently tired from the ever-increasing hours we're all spending at our desks. The makers of what's called MacuShield claim that the addition of their supplement to your daily routine helps prevent the tired, irritated, dry eyes and blurred vision and headaches that are an all too common side effect of prolonged computer use. They say that 'digital eye strain' is caused by blue light from our screens and that it can damage the backs of our eyes resulting in macular degeneration and sleep and mood complaints.

The supplement (from £15.99) contains a bevy of antioxidants, along with lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zexanthin, all of which promise to protect against free radical damage and macular degeneration.

But is it really necessary? Award-winning optometrist Jonathan Cohen of Zacks Eye Clinic in London certainly suggests looking after tired eyes. 'Regular breaks during VDU (screen) work and a healthy, balanced diet containing antioxidants is recommended for everyone. If you have eye strain you should see your optician for an eye examination as prescription spectacles with special coatings to absorb the blue light would be better suited,' he tells The Debrief.

And, while he argues that a well-balanced diet should provide you with the antioxidents you need (think blueberries, cranberries and red kidney beans), he agrees these can help slow down any eye damage. 'These ingredients are usually recommended for patients with early signs of macular degeneration as they have been shown to slow down its progression. I'm unaware of any proven benefit in taking these kind of supplements with healthy eyes,' he says.

MacuShield in return are quick to cite a study from 2008, which concludes that the average Western diet contains just 1.3-3mg of these ingredients combined. All of which makes us think that if you have a particularly varied diet bursting to the seams with antioxidant-rich food, then supplementation might be a wasted effort. But isn't this true of all supplements? We take them because our diet has been found lacking. So, if that describes you, then a few extra antioxidants and nutrients via supplement form might not be such a bad idea.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter @Suzanne_M_Scott

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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