Here’s the question: if something is amazingly successful, why does it need to saturate the airwaves with advertising?
That’s the problem with the Outback Vision Protocol, which was first sent to me by a patient. The extremely long infomercial-style presentation promised me that two marvelous supplements would cure very serious vision problems. My hearty presenter informed me that these supplements, with the addition of kangaroo meat, are what a keen-eyed group of soldiers use for superhuman vision. They cured his wife’s eye problems and they could cure mine.
Some of you already can see what’s coming. But if you’re one of the millions of people dealing with macular degeneration, you might keep reading and pull out your credit card. So let me save you the time.
At long last, the supplements were revealed to me. They were (drumroll please) lutein and zeaxanthin. If I seem underwhelmed, I am. These are not mysterious or new. They’ve been around for decades. In fact, they’ve even been tested for exactly the sort of use that the presenter is making on his infomercial. AREDS 2 tested the use of lutein and zeaxanthin for macular degeneration because researchers saw enough possible benefit. The study was done, and the results are already back.
“In the AREDS2 trial, adding DHA/EPA or lutein/zeaxanthin to the original formulation (containing beta-carotene) had no additional overall effect on the risk of advanced AMD.”
So, yes, some supplementation can help with worsening macular degeneration risk, but it’s unsexy stuff from AREDS 1 like:
- 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
- 400 international units of vitamin E
- 15 mg beta-carotene
- 80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
- 2 mg copper as cupric oxide
These were the original ingredients in AREDS 1, which did show benefit in preventing advancing macular degeneration. The Outback people say that AREDS supports their claims, but no one running the AREDS trials would support claiming that any supplement would reverse eye degeneration.
I ask myself, if the study has already been done, why is this David Riley pushing supplements that don’t work? Well, to begin with, he’s not David Riley. It says so on his extensive disclaimer page. Another ad campaign features another name with the same protocol: Bill Campbell’s Outback Vision Protocol. We’ve got pages of fake reviews of the protocol by reviewers like “Jrhonest” who claims to write an honest review but just repastes the same information of the other fake reviews. The only place to get real reviews of the Protocol are on sites like Amazon that work hard to prevent the kind of spamming Campbell has done elsewhere. What does Amazon say? (The book has been pulled from Amazon because of terrible reviews, so the link now goes to German.) Save your money.
So, before all of you ask me to write a book on vision loss, I’ve already started. Too many of you are in desperate need, and there’s nothing out there that really covers the eye the way I’d like.
Update June 2018: Well, after months of research, it turns out we don’t have any large scale studies about the eyes. We don’t know whether starting glasses earlier, switching to bifocals, or even if delaying eye surgery will impact your eye health.
We’re also facing a global pandemic of eye disease that still hasn’t made it into the news. I’m talking about young people showing up with eye disease that shouldn’t hit until they are past retirement age. It’s striking Asian countries hardest, but we’re seeing a doubling of eye disease worldwide.
So I had to go back and relearn everything I thought I knew about the eye. I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive book on eye diseases. We just don’t have the big studies we need to say for sure what you should do.
What I have instead is an exploration of why we’re a hundred years behind in the study of the eyes. I’ve simplified the anatomy, optics, and research we do have in a folksy way that will hopefully reach the same people that the Outback folks are trying to get hooked on their program. (Here’s the book.)
Is there any difference in what I’ve done and what the Outback folks have done? As far as I can tell, the Outback folks have taken the AREDS study, reversed its results, and are running with that study to promote two supplements as a cure-all. I’ve boiled down 225 citations into a simple explanation of how we can improve our eyes, or at least keep them from getting worse. It’s going to be very useful for middle aged duffers like me who are looking to improve their vision. I’m afraid it will be less helpful to those of you in dire need of much more. But it’s at least based in reality.
I would never claim that my own eye improvements or my studies will magically make you better. But I think I have enough information about the eyes to at least point you in the right direction.
Update July 2018:
I wanted to share one of the emails I’ve received because I think it is a relevant concern. I’m also fascinated by the grammatical style, which reminds me of e.e. cummings (a great poet who never used punctuation or capitalization). If you read it that way it’s quite poetic.
“what a riot
after smashing what’s his name for his bogus claims, you who claim to be the “voice of reason”
have put out an audiotape as well and are just another shill asking for money.
gutsy but iffy on your morals and good intent”
Here’s my response: