EyePromise has added Screen Shield Teen to its ocular nutrition supplement line.
The nutraceutical, which includes all-natural zeaxanthin, is “specially formulated to preserve and support visual comfort and wellness for children ages 4 to 17 years old,” the company said in a press release.
EyePromise said it developed Screen Shield Teen in response to doctor feedback and increased consumer concerns surrounding eye and vision symptoms resulting from digital device use. The fruit punch-flavored chewable vitamin is GMO and gluten free, follows the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations and is certified for sports by the NSF.
Supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin has been shown to increase macular pigment optical density and improve study subjects’ headache frequency, eye strain, eye fatigue and other visual performance measures often associated with prolonged digital screen time, the company said in the release (Stringham et al.).
Dennis Gierhart, PhD, co-founder of ZeaVision, parent company of EyePromise, said in the release that this new supplement “is formulated to be consistent with the eye’s natural 2:1 ratio of zeaxanthin to lutein, along with other ingredients proven beneficial for eye health.
“Importantly, these antioxidants eliminate the free radicals produced by blue light exposure on the retina and help absorb that light, adding an extra layer of protection for young eyes whose macular pigment is not fully developed,” he added.
Private practitioner Louise A. Sclafani, OD, FAAO, FSLS, said parents often ask her whether the amount of time their children spend on laptops or cell phones is harmful.
Louise A. Sclafani
“Seventy percent of the kids I see have some vision-related issues,” she told Primary Care Optometry News. “They talk about tired eyes, headaches, eye strain, trouble sleeping. Trouble sleeping is the biggest issue, but parents and teens don’t associate it with computer screens.”
She said she explains to parents that the blue light from the digital devices is UV light, which they are more familiar with.
“Nobody looks into the sun for 6 hours a day, but kids are shining a bright light directly into their eyes for 6 or more hours,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in 10 years because this screen time epidemic has just started in the past 4 or 5.”
Sclafani said she sees no reason why all children should not use this supplement, “but I’m going to really focus on the ones who come in and can’t or won’t get off their phones when they are in my exam room.”
She said she plans on incorporating screen time questions into her practice’s patient history questions. She will also be aware of complaints of tired eyes.
“A lot of our kids have subtle headaches, too, so I don’t let any headaches go by without question or concern or a work-up,” Sclafani said.
She also noted the importance of including older children in the conversation. “Having them take control of their own health is key,” she said.
Screen Shield Teen is available on the company’s website or through eye care professionals. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Stringham J., et al. Foods. 2017;doi.org/10.3390/foods6070047.
Disclosure: Gierhart co-founded ZeaVision. Sclafani reports she is a consultant for Aerie, Alcon, Allergan, Brien Holden Vision Institute, EyePrint Pro, Vistakon and ZeaVision. She is vice president of professional affairs for Synergeyes.