Bilberry extract: the ally in management of eye discomfort


A new randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study published in European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences highlighted Mirtoselect, the Indena proprietary standardised bilberry extract containing 36% anthocyanins, may have an important role in preserving adequate acqueous levels in people possibly experiencing dry eye conditions1

The aim of the study was to investigate the ability of bilberry extract to maintain adequate tear levels and to confirm its antioxidant potential.

Twenty-one healthy subjects experiencing dry eye have been enrolled and randomly assigned to receive Mirtoselect supplementation (2 tablets corresponding to 160 mg) daily or placebo for 4 weeks.

The results of Schimer’s test — indicating the volume of tear secretion — before and after the 4 week period showed significant improvements in the mean values for right eye (+71%, p=0.009) and both eyes (+55% p=0.019) as well as a beneficial tendency for the left eye (+43%, p=0.062) in the supplemented group.

In the placebo group, the mean values of Schimer’s test at the end of the treatment were not significant.

Antonella Riva, Product Research Manager at Indena, said: “Aged people or those exposed to certain stress conditions for the eye (dust or dry environment) may experience discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability with potential impairment of the ocular surface. Mirtoselect is supported by a strong clinical literature, confirming its efficacy profile in the realm of vascular health and ophthalmology.2

“This last study opens a new application for our bilberry extract in subjects with visual fatigue and a higher tendency of dry eye. The observed antioxidant potential is of a great importance due to the fact that a potential relationship between dry eye and relative oxygen species is reported.”

Cosimo Palumbo, Indena Marketing Director, said: “The history of Indena Mirtoselect dates back to 1970, our standardised bilberry extract is supported by more than 30 published clinical trials.

“This is one of the best examples of how Indena pioneers the development of botanical derived dietary ingredients, confirming its expertise in innovation and quality. We are extremely proud that today Mirtoselect is the only bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) supported by clinical data on this specific eye condition.”


  1. A. Riva, et al., “The effect of a natural, standardized bilberry extract (Mirtoselect) in dry eye: a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trial,“ European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 21, 2518-2525 (2017).
  2. Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) DED definition, 2017.
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