The Diabetes Visual Function Supplement Study
The Diabetes Visual Function Supplement Study (DiVFuSS) was a 6-month randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test the effects of a novel, multicomponent nutritional supplement on visual function. Participants included patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and early stages of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).
We chose the ingredients in the trial formula to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress within the retina. The molecules chosen had shown promise for preventing retinopathy in diabetic animals and improving things like contrast sensitivity (ability to see gray objects on a gray background), color vision, and the ability to perceive very dim light stimuli (visual field) in patients with diabetes.
After 6 months, patients taking the DiVFuSS formula had improved:
- Macular pigment optical density (MPOD)
- Contrast sensitivity
- Color vision
- Visual field sensitivity
- Blood lipids
- LDL cholesterol and triglycerides went down
- HDL cholesterol went up
- Blood markers of inflammation
- Significantly lower hsCRP (a key protein that contributes to the risk of diabetic macular edema and cardiovascular disease)
- Symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Numbness or feelings of pins and needles in the toes, feet, and legs
*Most importantly: the DiVFuSS formula had no effect on participants’ average blood sugar levels (glycosylated hemoglobin, a.k.a. the A1c test). *
Why Does It Matter?
These findings are extremely important because people with diabetes have been shown to develop very subtle (typically asymptomatic) loss of contrast sensitivity, color vision, and visual field sensitivity long before the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is an eye disease that damages blood vessels and nerve cells lining the eye’s light-sensitive retina and the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in working-age Americans.
This suggests that use of the DiVFuSS formula may interfere with early changes that come before, and often worsen with, the development of NPDR. In fact, an earlier study showed that the DiVFuSS formula prevented biochemical and anatomical changes characteristic of diabetic retinopathy in animals with diabetes.
The Bottom Line
The DiVFuSS formula represents another way to help protect the eyes from the effects of diabetes independently of blood sugar levels. It doesn’t interfere with other diabetes medications and did not appear to have any side effects in our study. The study published in the prestigious British Journal of Ophthalmology in 2015, but how can this impressive trial fit into your practice?
As a diabetic patient himself, A. Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO, CDE, has dedicated his work to diabetic eye care and education. Currently living in Washington, Dr. Chous is an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He sits on the editorial review boards of Review of Optometry and Optometry Times.
If you’re interested in the DiVFuSS formula, it is now available through EyePromise.
Watch the video where Dr. Chous explains his motivation for the DiVFuSS study.