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Sanika Mangesh Joshi, Ehsan Rahimy; An Evaluation of Popular Online Eye Health Products on the Amazon Marketplace. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):1788.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Eye health supplements to promote vision health are widely featured on online marketplaces such as Amazon.com. These products are not regulated by the FDA and many have not had their efficacy or safety claims validated. The goal of this study is to conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the top 100 eye health products and evaluate the claims, active ingredients, and customer reviews to increase patient as well as physician education and awareness.
To determine the popular online eye health products on Amazon.com, 8 keywords were used for the search: “Eye Health,” “Eye Health Supplements,” “Eye Health Vitamins,” “Retina Vitamins,” “Macular Degeneration,” “Macular Degeneration Vitamins,” “Macular Health,” and “Vision Health.” The products present on the website with the default search settings were evaluated and products that were present when at least two or more keywords were searched were chosen to be in the final list. The top 100 products were then analyzed and tabulated for their active ingredients, the daily cost per day, average star rating, number of verified purchases, and notable customer reviews.
The top 100 eye health products had a mean rating of 4.34± 0.55 stars on Amazon.com and an average of 174 customer reviews. When the customer reviews were filtered by those that had the “verified purchase” notation on the website, the average decreased to 158 reviews. Of those products investigated, only 11% reported containing the correct AREDS2 formula, 77% of products were supplements that were classified as “like AREDS2” as they contained at least one active ingredient of the AREDS2 formula in addition to other ingredients; 7% of products were classified as other non-AREDS2 as they did not contain any ingredients in the AREDS2 formula, 3% of products were topicals like drops or creams, and 2% of products were non-nutraceuticals (i.e. books, magnifying glasses). The average daily cost of the eye health supplements (true AREDS2 formula, like AREDS2, other non-AREDS2) was $0.72±0.55 (range: $0.05 - $2.67).
This study evaluated popular eye health supplements publicly available to consumers on the Amazon.com marketplace. These findings may enable both patients and physicians to better understand the safety and effectiveness of these products, and make more informed choices when supporting their eye health.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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