PURPOSE: To inform eye care providers of the complimentary and alternative medical (CAM) supplements used by patients for the prevention and treatment of common ocular conditions.
DESIGN: Retrospective literature review.
METHODS: Studies and information found in published journals, reference texts, and selected websites were researched to find commonly cited CAM supplements used in the prevention and treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and common "red eye" conditions. The literature was concisely reviewed to extract indication of use, mechanism of action, condition specific dosages, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) if available, drug interactions, and absolute contraindications for each CAM supplement.
RESULTS: Available evidence of CAM use for the ocular conditions described is variable. Therefore, "gold standard" routine CAM treatments for most of the specific ocular conditions described do not exist. Information and recommendations provided herein are simply a compilation of the literature, and are in no way supported or refuted by the authors.
CONCLUSION: The use of CAM therapies in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is the aim of this review to equip eye care providers with essential knowledge of the common vitamins, minerals, and herbs used for eye disease to properly counsel patients in making appropriate and safe choices.
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