Fixing eye floaters with bromelain 🍍
[Epistemic status: medium]
tl;dr: 500mg bromelain daily for three months eliminates or significantly reduces eye floaters in the majority of people.
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor just a crazy guy on the internet if your eyes fall out I’m not responsible)
Eye floaters are an annoying condition where bits of cellular debris accumulate in the eye and cast a shadow on the retina, which appear as little grey blobs floating around in your vision. They’re very common, and usually not a sign of something more serious, but there aren’t really many approved treatments for them (short of having the goop in your eye sucked out, which doesn’t sound fun, or unapproved laser therapies).
Thanks for reading Aliveness Studies! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
NB: If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in the number of floaters, or ‘shadows’ on your vision, or flashes of light – go to your nearest emergency room or eye hospital immediately. This could be a sign of retinal tear or detachment.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples which breaks down proteins. There’s some thought it might work to break down eye floaters – I don’t know how plausible this this. I suppose the enzyme could make its way to the eye and act there?
Nonetheless, there’s evidence that it can work, and it seems basically harmless if you don’t overdo it.
Horng (2019)showed that pineapple supplements taken for three months reduced floaters.
In subjects who started out with a single floater and were given 200g pineapple per day, only 29.2% still had a floater by the end of the study.
70 people had multiple floaters at the start of the study, which reduced to 19 after three months.
In a separate sub-study, giving people more pineapple correlated with a greater reduction in floaters.
Takeuchi (2020)showed that a mixture of fruit enzymes (190 mg bromelain, 95 mg papain and 95 mg ficin) could reduce floaters.
Ma (2022)showed a similar mixture reduces the appearance of haemorrhage-induced floaters.
In this study, the ‘high-dose group’ took three capsules daily of 190/95/95mg bromelain/papain/ficin, for a total of 570/285/285mg.
I don’t know why all of these studies are East Asian – maybe pineapple is just more popular there? (Turns out you can also treat acne with pineapple extract, so maybe I’ll just blog exclusively about pineapple miracle cures from now on.)
The simplest thing to do would just be to copy what Horng did: eat 360g of pineapple daily for three months. That’s about half a pineapple though, which you might not be so into. Bromelain is concentrated in the inedible stem, so it’s also not the most efficient way to get bromelain.
Per Ma (2022), I suggest taking 500mg bromelain daily for three months, roughly mirroring what the high-dose group took. Those participants also took ficin and papain, sometimes sold in ‘papaya extract’ supplements, which you could add on.
Chi-Ting Horng et al. Pharmacologic vitreolysis of vitreous floaters by 3-month pineapple supplement in Taiwan: A pilot study. J Am Sci 2019;15(4):17-30].
Takeuchi et al. Treatment of Symptomatic Vitreous Opacities with Pharmacologic Vitreolysis Using a Mixure of Bromelain, Papain and Ficin Supplement. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(17), 5901.
Ma JW et al. A New Pharmacological Vitreolysis through the Supplement of Mixed Fruit Enzymes for Patients with Ocular Floaters or Vitreous Hemorrhage-Induced Floaters. J Clin Med. 2022 Nov 13;11(22):6710.