STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Will drinking a mix of garlic, mint and oregano improve eyesight and repair vision loss? No, that's not true: The American Academy of Ophthalmology told Lead Stories that "there is no scientific evidence for using herbs to prevent vision loss or improve eyesight."
The claim appeared in a Facebook post with a video on February 13, 2022, that described the "gold mine" of "natural remedies" aimed at improving eyesight. This concoction included a blended mixture of garlic, oregano, mint, water and honey to supposedly "recover a good part of your vision and prevents eye degeneration."
Here is how the post read at the time of writing:
GARLIC and OREGANO helps improve eyesight for those who wear glasses
Here is how the video appeared at the time of this fact check's publication:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Oct 24 20:23:03 2022 UTC)
The three-minute video's narration claimed that the mixture would "slow vision and focus loss and also help improve your vision naturally without having to wear glasses." It also said:
This recipe is the gold mine for those who want to improve their eyesight. If you make this mixture that I am going to teach you here in the video for at least three days, you can recover a good part of your vision naturally ...
We are going to add a clove of garlic to a blender, five mint leaves, a tablespoon of oregano, 200 ml of water. Let's also add a teaspoon of honey. Now we are going to beat all this very well in the blender for approximately three minutes.
First, the video narrator states, "And, guys, Facebook is only delivering our recipes to those who interact with the page. And what it's like to interact with the page? Like the video, leave your comments and don't forget to share this recipe with your friends."
This claim is pushing for boosted interaction while also making an unsubstantiated claim about Facebook itself "delivering our recipes."
There is no scientific evidence that specific food combinations or dietary supplements can improve eye-sight or cure any degenerative diseases of the eyes.Following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, especially fish, and whole grains, is essential to maintaining good health, including that of your eyes.
Garlic was traditionally used for health purposes in parts of the ancient world, including parts of Asia and Europe, notes the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Today, garlic is largely promoted as a dietary supplement with conflicting evidence as to its actual health benefits.
There are few studies that have looked into garlic's effect on the eye, and that research was either limited or conducted on rats. In an email sent to Lead Stories on October 24, 2022, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) spokesperson Vered Hazanchuk said that "there is no scientific evidence for using herbs to prevent vision loss or improve eyesight.
"The best way to prevent vision loss is to visit an ophthalmologist so that they can monitor for any eye diseases, which if caught early can be treated before they cause an issue with your vision," Hazanchuk said.
Medical research that suggests that garlic can positively influence human eye health is limited.
Research conducted in 2022 suggested that "garlic supplements can improve visual acuity" in diabetic patients with diabetic macular edema, a condition described by the AAO as an "accumulation of excess fluid in the extracellular space within the retina in the macular area." This research, however, lasted only four weeks and was restricted to 91 participants.
Research done with rats in 2021 and 2011 indicated a correlation between garlic supplements and reductions in cataract development and degeneration in the eye's neural retinal area, but the studies both involved fewer than 50 test subjects, with positive results occurring in groups of 10 or fewer rats.
AAO added that these studies still do not provide enough evidence to suggest garlic or other herbs will help eye health.
"While these types of studies are interesting, until [or] unless this result is repeated with larger groups of patients over a longer period of time, and by other investigators, it's not considered solid evidence yet," Hazanchuk told Lead Stories in a follow-up email sent on October 25, 2022.
The video on Facebook, she added, didn't mention any scientific evidence to support the claim that oregano, mint and garlic will improve eyesight.
"Unfortunately, there's no data to support that claim," Hazanchuk said.
2022-10-26T22:45:02Z 2022-10-26T22:45:02ZUpdated with comment from Dr. Emily Y. Chew, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications and deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute