Mirtoselect® and visual acuity
During the Second World War, the empirical observation that ingestion of bilberry jam (made from Vaccinium myrtillus berries) improved the sight of RAF pilots on night flights led to an interest in their ophthalmologic properties. Subsequently, the effect of anthocyanins in improving vision has been evaluated by instrumental techniques, such as computerised perimetry, suggesting that the standardized bilberry extract containing 36% anthocyanins may play an important role in improving the retinal sensibility in myopic patients(1-2).
More recently, some investigators reported that the administration of Mirtoselect® could help to recover reduced visual function in eyesight due to overuse of the eyes. An improvement in subjective symptoms such as vision with sparks, dimming of the eyesight, ocular fatigue in computer operators, office workers and students has been shown in a cross-over, double-blind, place controlled study on 20 patients who took 250mg of bilberry extract for 28 days. (Fig 1)(3).
Fig. 1: Percentage of patients with improvement in symptoms associated
to eyesight fatigue. The results show statistically significant differences between
patients treated with Mirtoselect® compared with patients treated with the placebo.
In addition, in a trail on 63 school children with
pseudomyopia (8 weeks treatment with 150mg/day of
Mirtoselect®), 30% of the cases showed a eyesight recovery, suggesting that a long-term intake of
bilberry extract may be useful in preventing an advancement to
axial myopia and an exacerbation of eyesight in pseudomyopia school children in whom sudden failure of eysight arose due to overuse of their eyes.(4).
In an recent multicenter study on 88 patients(5) the change of clinical manifestations after 1 year of administration of Mirtoselect® to patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) associated macular edema has been evaluated. The administration of 3 capsules of Vaccinium myrtillus extract (170 mg/capsule) improved vision due to a beneficial effect on contrast sensitivity, while visual acuity and macular edema were maintained without aggravation.
Fig. 2: Comparison of images with different contrast sensitivity. A) Image with high contrast sensitivity. B) Image with a low contrast sensitivity
Additionally prolonged administration (6 to 53 months) of a product containing a low dosage of Mirtoselect® (120mg/day divided in two capsules of 60mg) in 132 patients(6), resulted in an amelioration of the best-corrected visual acuity (measured as logMAR) and of the Visual Field (Humphrey Visual Field test) compared to the initial conditions. Furthermore the amelioration of the best-corrected visual acuity was statistical significant also compared the control (97 patients) and Ginkgo biloba (103 patients) traded group, while the visual field increase could not reach statistical significance amelioration when compared to the Gingko biloba treated group.
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1. Virno M, Pecori Giraldi J, Auriemma L.
Antocianosidi di mirtillo e permeabilità dei vasi del corpo ciliare. Boll
Ocul. 1986; 65:789-95
2. Gandolfo E. Boll. Ocul. 69: 57, 1990
3. Kajimoto O, “Clinical Evaluation of the Oral Administration of Vaccinium Myrtillus Anthocyanosides (VMA) in Mental Fatigue and Asthenopia”. Scientific Report Collection 1998; 19:143-150.
4. Kajimoto S, Sasaki K, Takahashi T. Recovery effect of VMA intake on visual acuity of pseudomyopia in primary school students. J New Rem & Clin 2000;49:72-79. [Article in Japanese]
5. Kim ES, Yu SY, Kwon SJ, Kwon OW, Kim SY, Kim TW, Ahn JK, Oum BS, Lew YJ, Lee JE, Chung H, Kwak HW."Clinical Evaluation of Patients with Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Following Medication of Anthocyanoside: Multicenter Study". J Korean Ophthalmol Soc. 2008 Oct;49(10):1629-1633.
6. Shim, S.H., et al., Ginkgo biloba extract and bilberry anthocyanins improve visual function in patients with normal tension glaucoma. J Med Food, 2012. 15(9): p. 818-23.