Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Manipulated video used in ‘vision cure’ ad

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Manipulated video used in ‘vision cure’ ad
The ad uses a manipulated clip of a cardiologist and online health personality to falsely imply his endorsement of a product that claims to restore perfect vision

Claim: Cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong endorses a product that claims to restore vision and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook post containing the claim has 243,000 views, 186 comments, and 1,800 reactions as of writing. It was posted on a public Facebook page with 1,400 followers. 

The video features a clip of Ong seemingly touting the benefits of a product that can restore perfect vision. The video claims that over 3.5 million people have stopped using glasses and contact lenses because of the product and that it completely eliminates the risk of blindness and developing cataracts. 

Text accompanying the video says, “Bumabalik ang liwanag! Alamin ang payo ng doktor para sa malinaw na paningin” (Light is coming back! Find out the doctor’s advice for clear vision) and “Kung ikaw ay may mahinang paningin, basahin ito! Hindi mo na kailangan ng salamin o contact lens!” (If you have poor eyesight, read this! You don’t need glasses or contact lenses anymore!)

The facts: The video has been manipulated to make it appear that Ong is endorsing a product to cure vision problems. 

The original footage comes from a video posted on Ong’s official YouTube channel in October 2018 titled “Mata Malabo at Masakit: Simpleng Solusyon – Payo ni Doc Willie Ong #597.” In the original video, Ong provides general health advice for eye care but does not endorse any miracle cure. 

Comparing the two videos, Ong’s mouth movements do not match the audio in the manipulated clip. 

Ong has advised the public to be wary of fake ads and scams. He has previously told Rappler that he does not endorse various health products using his name and image. 

ALSO ON RAPPLER

No such cure: While the supposed eye product is not named, the video describes it as a “simple” and “natural” cure. However, there is no scientifically proven product that can restore vision to 100% and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Vision correction typically requires prescription glasses, contact lenses, or surgery such as LASIK. Meanwhile, only surgery can fully remove cataracts or the clouding of the lens in the eye. 

Products that claim supposed instant treatment are often associated with scams and are not supported by credible medical evidence.

Not approved: The video claims that the supposed cure is approved by the “Ministry of Health” yet the Philippines has departments, and not ministries. The Department of Health (DOH) has not advertised any product to cure vision problems. In a statement for the observance of “Sight Saving Month” in August 2023, the DOH reminded the public to get regular eye checkups and said that eyeglasses or contact lenses remain the best options for improving one’s eyesight. 

Similar fact checks: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims of products using Ong’s name, audio, and video in false advertisements:

Rappler has also fact-checked posts making questionable health claims:

Quincy Reyes/Rappler.com

Quincy Reyes is a research volunteer at Rappler. He is a recent graduate from Fordham University having double-majored in journalism and film and television. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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