Regarding the importance of eyesight, when waking up in the morning, most people take the surrounding scenery for granted. Seeing the alarm clock, the swaying tree outside the window, and the cat at the end of the bed are all commonplace. However, this is not the case for a large portion of the world’s population. Globally, at least 2.2 billion people are estimated to suffer from visual impairment, according to WHO. At least half of these people could have prevented strength problems or could have had eyesight problems but had not acted. The most common eyesight problems include as below:
- uncorrected refractive errors
- age-related macular degeneration, shortly AMD
- diabetic retinopathy
- corneal opacity
When people talk about the issue of eye health, many people are eager to protect their eyesight. They want to be proactive about taking care of their eyes. Many also wonder what new solutions are available. In this regard, can supplement retailers help people choose the “just right” eyesight care products? Do people know what to look for when buying products that protect their eyesight? Manufacturers of eyesight care products hope to help these retailers and those in need. These manufacturers capture today’s trends in eyesight health, how these trends are expected to change over time, yield new delivery methods and research findings, and how best to support natural health retailers.
What Does the Eyesight Health Market Look Like Today?
In the past, the baby boomers dominated the eyesight health category. And that trend is changing. The eyesight health submarket is continuing to grow as new groups become more interested in eyesight health. Dana Dye, an educational content writer for Life Extension, said she is now encouraged by the increased interest in eyesight health. The eye care products market started to expand in 2019 and has maintained steady growth since then. Today, eye caring product market trends are still primarily defined by the geriatric population seeking to address age-related eyesight changes. Still, it is worth mentioning that new populations have emerged. They are the younger generation. This group of young people is interested in protecting eye health from blue light and helping to relieve problems such as joint mild eye discomfort associated with prolonged use of digital devices.
Sébastien Bornet, who is the vice president of global marketing and sales at Horphag Research based in Switzerland, said: “In a presentation at Vitafoods in October 2021, it was reported that eye health was the top five ingredient category that market researchers will focus on in 2022.” He also agrees with Dye’s findings that in a market once dominated by aging consumers, the influence of technology and screens has drawn younger generations into the eye health discussion.
According to Mordor Intelligence, the global eye care products market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% over the next five years. The growth shows that eyesight health is a category that is expected to continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
What is New in Eyesight Health?
In modern society, wherever you go, you can see a lot of information about what’s hot, what’s trending, and what’s new. In the world of eyesight health, there are a few special things that seem to be the point of interest for most people.
Betsy’s Health Foods manager, Ramona Billingslea, said she saw an increased emphasis on blue light exposure support. She sees it as a growing category. It may be because contemporary people, regardless of gender, age, and age, spend a large part of their time using various electronic products, which leads to premature aging of the eyes and requires more types of eye care supplements.
Neil Edward Levin, senior nutrition education manager at NOW, an Illinois-based manufacturer, also noticed this trend related to blue light exposure. “Glare, night eyesight, contrast, and visual processing speed are issues associated with modern electronic use that can be made worse by not wearing the right sunglasses and eating a poor diet that lacks carotenoid pigments,” he said. The pandemic over the past few years has driven an increase in screen time for people working and going to school around the world. Studies show that increased screen use has a negative impact on eye health, especially in those who are more prone to eyesight deterioration, such as children, teens, and the elderly.
“In North America, the growing awareness of these issues and the growing popularity of health-conscious attitudes have driven a huge demand for natural, effective solutions to support eye health,” Mak noted. “Many people turn to dietary supplements that contain important nutrients and functional ingredients that are well-researched to help promote healthy visual function. North America, by far, holds the largest share of the eye care products market and is expected to achieve high growth substantially over the next five years.”
But there’s another noteworthy negative trend that most people seem to only seek out eyesight care products after they have problems with their eyes, unaware that our eyes can benefit from support throughout our lives.
Overall, because interest in educating yourself about wellness products continues to grow, more people are looking for formulas backed by science. Eyesight care product manufacturers are meeting this growing demand with more natural, science-backed ingredients. Pycnogenol is very effective as a stand-alone supplement for the eyes. And the way to put Pycnogenol in combination with other high-quality ingredients can also support eye health. An example of this combination is Mirtogenol, a natural, patented, and evidence-based combination of Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract and Mirtoselect Bilberry Extract.
New Research on Eyesight Health
A clinically tested product, NOW Macular Eyesight, features XanthoSight, a marigold-derived ingredient composed of lutein, zeaxanthin, and Meso-zeaxanthin. These are thought to promote optimal eye health, visual performance, and cognitive function. Unlike lutein and zeaxanthin, Meso-zeaxanthin is usually not obtained through the diet. Some in the whole fish with their eyes intact may not be available in most eye support products.
At Life Extension, gummies are a fast-growing segment and a popular choice for consumers looking to improve their eyesight health. Life Extension has developed the Gummy Science Digital Eye Support formula, which maintains healthy macular pigment density and protects the eyes from blue light from digital device screens. The Digital Eye Support formula offers clinically studied Lutemax 2020, a patented marigold extract that provides the eye-healthy carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and Meso-zeaxanthin. These benefits are available in vegan, sugar-free, berry-flavored gummies.
Cyanidin-3-Glucoside supports the regeneration of rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is a rhodopsin compound that converts the visible light into electrical signals that reach the brain’s visual center, especially in dimly lit conditions. Meanwhile, a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study showed that black currant anthocyanin supplementation lowered the dark adaptation threshold – a measure of accommodation in the eye at low light levels. This study and many others support the potential benefits of Life Extension’s MacuGuard Eye Support with Saffron and Astaxanthin.
An article in the Journal of Nutrition pointed out that although more research is needed to verify it, it is undeniable that oxidative damage plays an important role in AMD. Supplementation with food and/or supplements such as lutein and zeaxanthin may be beneficial. These supplements may protect the retina and may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible eyesight loss in older adults in the United States and the Western world.
The macular part of the eye is responsible for central eyesight and contains protective pigments called carotenoids. The pigment in this region consists of three yellow carotenoids: lutein, zeaxanthin, and Meso-zeaxanthin. They play an essential role in protecting eyesight by filtering and absorbing blue wavelengths of light that are harmful to cells. But that part has not been evaluated by the FDA. In addition to aging, inadequate diet may be the main reason why causes low levels of carotenoids in the eyes. There aren’t enough naturally colorful plant foods like spinach or zucchini to provide these carotenoids or the ability to convert lutein to Meso-zeaxanthin. This process accentuates our eye structure and increases our need for carotenoid filtering protection.
For Natural Supplement Retailers: Best Advice
Now, perhaps more than ever, natural supplement retailers are looking for helpful ways to market their products to customers and answer the myriad questions they face every day. How can manufacturers of natural eyesight care products help?
Bornet advises retailers to invest in research, demonstrate efficacy and value, provide more education and listen to feedback. Consumers are interested in eye health and want to ensure that the investment they make when purchasing delivers the benefits they need. At the same time, Bornet encourages consumers to seek out scientifically backed research and information. For example, Pycnogenol has been extensively researched over the past 40 years, with more than 160 clinical trials and 450 scientific publications, assuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. More and more consumers are consciously seeking specific nutrients and science-backed ingredients, such as Pycnogenol, that benefit eye health.
Plus, some critical pieces of information can also make it easier for retailers to sell health products.
- Make the message on the bottle or box as straightforward as possible.
- Take advantage of educational materials, such as self-internal webinars, to learn about the product and how to best help and communicate with customers.
- Understanding the function of the eye itself can help understand the type of support that may be needed.
Eyesight health remains an area of intense research and concern. This submarket is likely to only continue to grow in the coming years, due in large part to the aging U.S. population and concerns about eye health associated with screen use.