Health E-Insights: How has nutrition and supplements helped improve eye health?
Wolf: Nutrition plays a huge role in eye health. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) conducted by the National Eye Institute really helped set the tone for the importance of getting the right nutrients to help support long-term vision. The most recent Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II listed nutritional supplementation as a first step in relieving dry eye, showing that the dry eye community is on board with the importance of eye health nutrition. The science is there. The patient results are there. Nutrition needs to be a part of every patient protocol.
Health E-Insights: Has Eye Promise conducted its own studies for zeaxanthin and lutein?
Wolf: We have, and we continue to do so. EyePromise understands the importance of eye nutrition, and we invest heavily in clinical research, and natural zeaxanthin and lutein are no exceptions. While we’ve conducted trials with just zeaxanthin like the Zeaxanthin and Visual Function (ZVF) Study, we like to see the impact our overall formulas have on eye health. We’ve sponsored clinical trials like Diabetes and Visual Function Supplement Study, Case Report of Dietary Supplements Improving Macular Pigment and Visual Function, and ocular nutrition’s Impact on the tear film study that all feature our specific products and prove their safety and efficacy.
Health E-Insights: Are you seeing any trends regarding eye health ingredients/products?
Wolf: The latest market need is protection for screen time. Adults are worried about their eyes. Parents are worried about their kids. It’s a big concern for many Americans. The interest has increased immensely in wondering if there’s something that can be done to ward off common symptoms like tired, strained eyes. This market need helped launch the Screen Shield line for EyePromise. Screen Shield Teen and Screen Shield Pro have been crafted with key ingredients like all-natural zeaxanthin to protect the eyes from the ill effects often experienced with screen time.
Health E-Insights: Is your founder, Dr. Dennis Gierhart, still active in the company? If so, what is his role?
Wolf: Yes, Dr. Gierhart is dedicated and still very active in our organization. In his role as chairman and chief science officer, he leads our research and development and clinical studies, helping us stay at the forefront of emerging eye health and nutritional science. Dr. Gierhart drives EyePromise’s innovation, developing new formulations and technologies to strengthen our product portfolio. With his deep understanding of eye health and nutrition, he’s helped develop products that can benefit 6 out of 10 patients in an eye care practice. This is one of the reasons we became the number one doctor-recommended eye vitamin.
Health E-Insights: Has eye health deteriorated as people spend more and more time looking at computers?
Wolf: Currently, there’s no direct link to screen time and eye health deterioration yet because screens haven’t been around long enough. However, there are correlations between screens and vision-related symptoms like tired eyes, headaches, and eye strain. As I mentioned, EyePromise launched Screen Shield Teen and Screen Shield Pro earlier this year to help people get ahead of this emerging problem. Screen Shield Teen is a one-a-day, fruit punch-flavored, chewable tablet for kids ages 4-17. Screen Shield Pro is the adult version with more ingredients packed into a one-a-day softgel dosage.
Health E-Insights: Eye Promise is a partner of Major League Baseball’s Fall League. Are pro athletes using your products?
Wolf: Yes! EyePromise is proud to be the number one choice of professional athletes from almost every major sport, including the emerging phenomenon e-sports. We have players on every professional baseball team using EyePromise, and in some cases, the entire team is instructed to take it as part of their nutritional regimen. We are one of the few vitamin brands that has products that are NSF Certified for Sport, a third-party testing process that ensures our contents match the label and there are no banned substances. This makes EyePromise safe for professional, collegiate, and Olympic athletes and your loved ones.
Health E-Insights: What is one area of business you hope to accomplish for Eye Promise over the coming year?
Wolf: We are committed to be the best possible nutraceutical eye care partner to optometrists and ophthalmologists by focusing on their success with patients using our products. We want EyePromise to be the logical choice for any practice looking to implement an eye care nutraceutical program. This means our product solutions need to be effective for patients/consumers, the financials need to be relevant to the offices, and our programs need to be easy and simple to implement. We are making significant investments in bringing on additional talented team members to work with doctors and their staff. A critical metric for us is to ensure we effectively onboard and train our new staff, so that we can successfully execute our plans to work more closely with existing and new customers.
Health E-Insights: What’s the best advice you ever received and who did it come from?
Wolf: I grew up in the Netherlands in a family-owned business and my grandfather used a Dutch saying, “Wie het kleine niet eert, is het grote niet waard.” Loosely translated, this means that if you do not appreciate how the smaller, finer details impact the bigger picture for growth and success in life and in business, then both goals are harder to achieve and sustain. This outlook informs how I conduct business and how I lead. I am genuinely committed to all our stakeholders and I understand that it is essential to appreciate the unique value our shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers and communities bring to the equation. Within this framework, together we can strategically drive toward our larger goal of aggressive growth.
Sheldon Baker is CEO of the Baker Dillon Group LLC and has created numerous nutraceutical brand marketing communications and public relations campaigns for many well-known supplement and food industry companies. For Health E-Insights interview consideration or brand marketing consulting, contact him at SBaker@BakerDillon.com.