Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Unregistered eye drug does not cure cataracts, macular degeneration


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FACT CHECK: Unregistered eye drug does not cure cataracts, macular degeneration
Double Care Eye Brain is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s list of approved drug products in the Philippines and the US

Claim: The product Double Care Eye Brain claims to cure cataracts and macular degeneration, among other eye illnesses.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a Facebook video dated January 30, which has 168 shares, 898 comments, and 1,800 reactions as of writing.

While not included in the video itself, photos of Filipino cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong were used in the post’s comment section and on the Double Care Eye Brain website to imply Ong’s endorsement of the product.

The facts: Double Care Eye Brain does not cure cataracts or macular degeneration. There is no cure for macular degeneration, and surgery is the only way to remove cataracts, according to medical professionals.

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye condition in which a part of the retina called the macula is damaged, affecting central vision. There is no cure, but starting treatments early can “slow the progression of the disease and make symptoms less severe,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. Treatments for macular degeneration include nutritional supplements, medications, photodynamic therapy, and laser therapy. 

Meanwhile, only surgery can fully remove cataracts, or the clouding of the lens in the eye, and restore clear vision, according to the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, and the US National Eye Institute (NEI). While surgery is the only effective treatment when loss of eyesight gets in the way of everyday activities, the NEI also said that new glasses or contact lenses, as well as home treatments like using brighter lights, wearing anti-glare sunglasses, and using magnifying lenses, can help manage cataract symptoms in its early stages.

Not FDA registered: Double Care Eye Brain is not on the list of approved food and drug products of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The misleading post also includes a photo of a supposed certificate from the US FDA. The product, however, is not on the list of US FDA-approved drugs. The certificate also bears dubious details: the lack of an owner operator number, a list of “devices” that are unrelated to eye diseases, and an expiration date of December 31, 2020. The fake document is similar to an error-laden certificate previously used to promote a supposed cure for kidney diseases. 

Not advertised by Ong: Rappler has debunked posts that deceptively use the name, photos, and videos of Ong to promote supposed health products. In an email to Rappler, Ong denied endorsing these products and said that the only product he and his wife Lisa endorse is Birch Tree Advance, a nutritional milk for seniors. 

Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about products using Ong in false endorsements:

– Ailla Dela Cruz/Rappler.com

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 #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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