BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Cambridge Institute for Better Vision Modify, Discontinue Claims for ‘Eyemax-Plus’ Dietary Supplement

New York, New York – July 25,  2011– The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision modify or discontinue certain claims made in Internet advertising for the advertiser’s Eyemax-Plus Dietary Supplement.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed claims for the product as part of its ongoing monitoring of advertising claims in the dietary supplements marketplace. NAD has in place an initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition that has expanded the review of dietary supplements.

Eyemax-Plus is a multi-vitamin dietary supplement, consisting of the vitamins and minerals generally found in multi-vitamins, combined with certain vitamins and minerals known to support eye health, including lutein, zinc and Vitamin A.

As NAD noted in its decision, the claims at issue included: “strong, unsupported disease and health claims … including claims that EYEMAX-plus can prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as other diseases such as cancer, heart attack and stroke. The advertising at issue also included expert endorsements from an ophthalmologist, claiming that he has used this product to help his patients ‘… prevent, stabilize and reverse the symptoms of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.’”

At the outset of NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser voluntarily modify or discontinued certain claims, action that NAD found necessary and proper given the lack of any supporting evidence for the claims.

Upon review of the revised claims, NAD noted its continued concern with the following claims:

  • Eyemax Plus will “Promote Healthy Eyes, Protect Your Eyesight And Support Optimal Visual Functioning.”
  • “This Comprehensive, Balanced Formula Has More Vision-Protecting Nutrients Than Other Popular Brands.”
  • “When you want to do the best for your eyes that you can in order to maintain and protect healthy vision, there’s only one choice”
  • “The people who take EYEMAX-plus can sense it, and research proves it too.”
  • “Now his eye doctors tell us that his vision has completely stabilized. Needless to say, we’re both extremely pleased!”

While NAD found the use of the terms “support” and “promote” to be consistent with the types of structure/function dietary supplement claims contemplated by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA),” NAD determined that the term “protect” goes beyond the typical structure/function claim and implies a stronger and more certain measure of performance. NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue use of the word “protect.”

The advertiser stated that it had permanently discontinued the language “and research proves it too,” and had modified or discontinued references to doctors and claims of stability, actions that NAD found were necessary and proper.

NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the following claim: “Pioneering nutritional ophthalmologist Dr. Gary Price Todd developed the original formula and used it for years to help his patients keep their vision as healthy as it could be. Even when other eye doctors only expected more and more decline, he was able to help his patients keep their vision.”

NAD determined that the claim “goes beyond the type of structure/function claims that could be supported by general evidence on the ingredients in Eyemax-Plus, and suggests that there is research establishing that this doctor helped patients ‘keep their vision,’ an unsupported message.”

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s position that the use of the term ‘protect’ is inappropriate for use in its advertising material.  FDA has consistently permitted the use of this term as part of structure-function claims for use on dietary supplements including ‘protects against free radical damage’ on antioxidant products, and Cambridge believes that NAD’s position is without legal basis.  Nevertheless, in the interest of closing out all matters relating to NAD’s inquiry, Cambridge has removed the word “protect” from its Website in accordance with NAD’s recommendation.”