Dietary Supplements and the Ophthalmologist

Stephen G. Schwartz, MD; Pamela S. Chavis, MD


Compr Ophthalmol Update. 2005;6(3):153-159. 

In This Article

Effects of Dietary Supplements

The effects of dietary supplements are diverse and may be adverse. These preparations have been in use for thousands of years and predate modern pharmaceuticals.[8] Most of these agents are relatively safe, although the FDA recently reported that ephedra (Ephedra sinesis, ma huang), a weight loss agent, poses "an unreasonable risk to human health" due to its increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

Although an exhaustive review of the potential toxicity of dietary supplements is beyond the scope of this manuscript, certain effects are important for the practicing ophthalmologist. These are divided here into three categories: direct ocular effects; bleeding effects that may affect ocular surgery; and effects on medications used frequently by patients in a typical ophthalmologic practice.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.