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Seen At 11: Do Vision Vitamins Really Work?

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You sell them all over drugstores — special vitamins and supplements that claim to improve vision and even prevent blindness.

They might sound like a good idea, but, as CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, doctors say it’s hard to know if the vitamins and supplements do what they claim.

“At the moment, we don’t have the evidence that everybody should take them,” said Dr. Penny Asbell, an ophthalmologist at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Asbell said the vitamins and supplements may not harm eyes, but so far there has been no documented studies claiming they improve vision or eye health.

Doctors, however, are certain that a specific combination of vitamins can slow down the progression of macular degeneration, a disease that causes 8 million Americans a year to go blind. The vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and beta carotene.

“The vitamins are going to be very good for those who already have macular changes or retinal changes that are leading to macular degeneration,” Asbell said.

As for other supplements such as turmeric and selenium — which people have long believed help the eyes — Dr. David Rubaltelli, an ophthalmologist at Montefiore Medical Center, said the science does not back that up.

“Nothing that we know has been proven using a clinical trial,” he said.

Rubaltelli said the best way people can take care of their eyes is to simply take care of their body first.

“If you’re eating a diet that’s healthy for you and for your system in general, then I think that you’re doing your eyes a service,” he said.

Doctors say fruits and vegetables that are rich in color contain nutrients that are good for your eye health.

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