A recently published Irish study in Translational Vision Science and Technology (TVST) has revealed that dietary intervention with a targeted micronutrient formulation reduces the visual discomfort associated with vitreous degeneration.
This study, which is the first of its kind, reports the outcomes of the Floater Intervention Study (FLIES), which 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.
Floaters have a significant negative impact on the visual function and vision-related quality of life of its sufferers. Therefore, it is not surprising that some patients are willing to trade 1.1 years of every ten years of their remaining life to get rid of their floaters. Unfortunately, after clinicians have successfully ruled out the possibilities of retinal complications after the onset of floaters, the conventional treatment mostly offered to these sufferers is watchful waiting.
Floaters do not resolve with time, contrary to the popular assertion of clinicians. This is because the increased fluidity of the vitreous after degeneration and the continuous saccadic eye movements necessary for performing daily life visual activities prevent opacities from settling inferiorly within the vitreous.
Aside from watchful waiting, pars plana vitrectomy and YAG laser vitreolysis are the other treatment options available. Pars plana vitrectomy remains the definitive treatment for floaters, substantiated by beneficial outcomes on objective and subjective measurements. Pars plana vitrectomy for floaters, or simply floaterectomy, is increasingly being adopted by retinal surgeons – in part owing to the advancement in vitreoretinal surgical instrumentation and the availability of evidence regarding the safety of the procedure.
The FLIES trial is the first double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in patients with primary floaters that demonstrated a 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.
Dr Emmanuel Ankamah, the main researcher on the FLIES trial, said, “I am delighted to see the outcomes of this exciting trial published in TVST, a high impact journal in vision science. Indeed, this trial provides evidence to support the use of targeted nutritional intervention as a management strategy for vitreous floaters. Furthermore, this gives us more confidence that using antioxidative and antiglycation micronutrients can improve vitreous health.”
A limitation of this study is that no vitreous biopsies were taken to measure the intravitreal concentrations of the micronutrients after supplementation. The present study was designed to assess the efficacy of non-invasive, low-risk therapy for floaters.
This study, however, provides initial data that pave the way for future studies designed to estimate the concentrations of the targeted micronutrients (as well as total antioxidant capacity) within vitreous samples from supplemented patients as well as non-supplemented controls.
Click here to read the full study.