Targeted nutrition can significantly reduce ‘eye floaters’ as well as their associated discomforts, in certain patients, according to a study published in the ARVO Journal, Translational Vision Science and Technology (TVST).
Floaters appear like black or grey specks, strings, or cobwebs in a person’s vision and drift about when they move their eyes. According to the National Eye Institute, “almost everyone develops floaters as they get older”, but floaters can also occur from a very young age and especially in short-sighted people. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes in the vitreous. While painless and mostly harmless, they regularly cause significant visual discomfort and, at times, mental stress for the sufferers. In some cases, floaters may be associated with retinal tears, requiring immediate medical attention.
this trial provides the evidence to support the use of targeted nutritional intervention as a management strategy for vitreous floaters
The Floater Intervention Study (FLIES) study, was led by the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI, Waterford Institute of Technology), in collaboration with local optometrists and the Institute of Eye Surgery at UPMC Whitfield Hospital. It was the first double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in patients with primary floaters that demonstrated reduction in floater suffering as well as improvements in visual function in the active group compared to placebo, following a six-month dietary intervention with a formulation consisting of 125mg l-lysine, 40mg vitamin C, 26.3mg Vitis vinifera extract, 5mg zinc, and 100mg Citrus aurantium.
Reduced Floaters for 77% People
Dr Emmanuel Ankamah, the main researcher on the FLIES trial, said he was delighted in the study findings.
“Indeed, this trial provides the evidence to support the use of targeted nutritional intervention as a management strategy for vitreous floaters. This gives us more confidence that using antioxidative and antiglycation micronutrients can improve vitreous health.”
According to Professor John Nolan, the Director of the NRCI and Principal Investigator of the FLIES trial, “This study is very interesting, as it is the first of its kind to examine the benefits of nutritional supplementation for patients suffering with vitreous floaters. Notably, a large percentage of patients (77%) on the active supplement demonstrated a reduction in vitreous floaters and associated improvements in vision-related quality of life was seen in 67% of patients.”
“So, while not all participants on the active arm of the trial experienced improvements, this work provides clear evidence that this nutritional intervention is effective for certain patients. We look forward to continuing our studies on this important area of research. While we are hopeful that this research will inform eye-care, and offer an option to eye-care professionals and patients to enhance the health of the vitreous, we strongly advise that patients seek advice from a qualified eye-care professional,” he added.
Emmanuel Ankamah, Marina Green-Gomez, Warren Roche, Eugene Ng, Ulrich Welge-Lüßen, Thomas Kaercher, John M. Nolan; Dietary Intervention With a Targeted Micronutrient Formulation Reduces the Visual Discomfort Associated With Vitreous Degeneration. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(12):19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.12.19.