I’ve been seeing a pattern of deceptive videos that promise to reveal a secret but make you watch the entire video to learn what it is. They feature alarmist stories, emotional language, and testimonials, but no actual science. They make claims that can’t be believed.
I’ve been seeing a lot of video ads with “click-bait” promises that are very enticing. They fall into a pattern of despicable marketing ploys. They promise to tell you about a quick fix, something you can do in only a few seconds in the morning that will cure an illness or solve an annoying problem. But you have to sit through almost the entire video before they finally get around to revealing the secret, which usually turns out to be a pill with a mixture of dietary supplements and no science to back up the claims.
I will walk you through a typical example, so you needn’t waste your time suffering through the video like I did. This one is an advertisement for ReVision, a mixture of dietary supplements that is said to prevent all kinds of eye conditions and other ills, and specifically to restore deteriorating eyesight and allow you to throw your glasses away.
The presenter in this video is Larry Stephenson, a 55-year-old man who is not a doctor, but who recently retired after a 30-year career as a medicinal chemist.
These videos always start with an alarmist, emotional, exaggerated story meant to get your attention and tug at your heartstrings. Stephenson begins his story with “my wife was behind the wheel that horrible night. She had a terrible accident that wasn’t even her fault: it was because of deteriorating vision that her doctors were unable to fix, despite assuring them that their over-priced, multi-thousand dollar treatments worked.” He felt terrible that he had not been able to protect his wife. He realized that vision loss could be deadly and that the doctors had been telling big fat lies. (But had they? He doesn’t tell us what her visual acuity was with her glasses or show that impaired vision caused her accident. Already, he is making unsubstantiated accusations against her doctors and exaggerating the cost of getting glasses.)
When his wife’s vision began to deteriorate, she was embarrassed because couldn’t recognize her friends. Her eye doctor prescribed two pairs of glasses, for near and distant vision. She hated them. (But didn’t they correct her vision?) Her eyes got tired, and she thought the glasses made her look ugly. It was inconvenient to have to carry glasses everywhere, clean them, and store them properly to protect them from breaking. The whole thing cost $2,000. (The typical cost of an eye exam and glasses is much less.) He wanted to know why “this alienating disease” was happening to her. They spent thousands of dollars on products they found on the internet. They didn’t work. She started isolating herself, refusing invitations. (Most people don’t react that negatively to needing glasses.) One night, while driving home from work, she saw two teenagers crossing the street; she saw them too late and crashed into a tree. The tree fell on the car. She had a broken leg and a concussion and required many stitches. He was furious with himself, with eye doctors, and with the whole eye-care industry that promised their darn treatments would restore her vision: how could they have let her drive, knowing she couldn’t see well? (Presumably because she could see well with her glasses.) When she woke up in the hospital, she started crying her eyes out and said she couldn’t live with herself any more, she was no use to anyone, and it was getting harder and harder for her to get around. He couldn’t stand seeing her suffer, being lied to that the eye industry’s treatments worked. (But he doesn’t give any evidence that they didn’t work.) He searched the internet for a solution that didn’t involve glasses or surgery, because they were “draining the life out of her” and hurting her eyes, with no guarantees that she wouldn’t go completely blind eventually. He wondered why some people lose vision when there is nothing physically wrong with them. (Not true.)
He promises that the video will reveal a simple, 6-second solution, but he won’t tell you what it is until near the end of his spiel. He says “It’s important to watch the entire video to the end.” Because “This information could save your life or the life of someone you love.”
We are told the video may be removed due to powerful forces in the vision industry controlled by Big Pharma. (These videos always say this, but they are never removed.) He says they are scared that his new dirt-cheap method will put them out of business. “These fat-cats are perfectly happy to shatter your physical and mental health, forcing their overpriced lenses down your throat and becoming obscenely rich in the process…they don’t want you to have perfect eyesight, they need to keep you a customer for life.” (Such claims are common in these videos, but have no basis in reality.)
He exaggerates the inconvenience of corrective lenses. Glasses are fragile and easily broken, contact lenses are uncomfortable. He wants viewers to “break free from the prison”. (These scaremongering videos always make the standard treatment sound much worse than it is. Most of us wear glasses and don’t think of it as prison.)
He offers several video testimonials with no documentation and with details that don’t make medical sense. (Testimonials are notoriously unreliable and not acceptable as scientific evidence of efficacy.)
He tells us 67,000 Americans have already experienced the benefits. (Argument from popularity is a logical fallacy.)
He searched for the root cause. (Root cause is a popular meme of alternative medicine.) He explains how vision works and says vision starts to deteriorate when the electro-chemical impulses start dying. But WHY do they start dying, he asks? You can’t just blame old age. (Anyway, no cells are dying when cataracts impair vision.) In 2018, he claims that researchers found a whole new system that allows the retina to communicate directly with the brain, a new type of cell in the retina that decodes images. We don’t see with our eyes, we see with our brain, with the brain neurons situated on the retina. (I couldn’t find the research he mentions, and he provides no citations.)
This may explain why people with poor eyesight also suffer from fatigue, anxiety, depression, and migraines. (So do people with good eyesight.) They have a problem with signals not reaching their destination in the brain. (And he knows this how?) He consulted a friend, a renowned Swedish ophthalmologist, who refused to discuss it on the phone. (Why? Part of the conspiracy?)
He told his wife’s ophthalmologist about his discovery, but he said if it were true, the experts would have discovered it by now.
A friend introduced him to a Japanese doctor, Kenji Kanamaro. (There is no such doctor listed in PubMed, and K. Kanmaru is listed but has not published any relevant research.) Why isn’t there a treatment available to connect the eyes and the brain? It’s suppressed by the vision industry. They want you to keep purchasing fancy lenses every 3 months (Do you know anyone who needs new glasses every 3 months?), eye drops, artificial tears, etc. They want you to keep getting surgeries and having headaches. They want to keep taking your money for your entire lifetime. (The ones I know sincerely want to help you see better.)
Every time a natural treatment is proven to work, they ban it from future testing, claiming it’s dangerous or “homeopathic nonsense”. The eye industry would rather have people go blind, or die, as in the case of his wife, instead of looking for an efficient, cost-effective cure. As well as profit-hungry, he calls them “Godless”. (A complete distortion of reality.)
New research has shown that the only solution is to greatly reduce the enzyme Arginase2 in your body. That prevents the death of neurons from your retina and prevents the decay of fiber-links that connect neurons to each other and to the brain. A study in Sweden examined 93 subjects with all kinds of different eye problems and found they could reduce their levels of Arginase2 with Huperzine A (which inhibits the arginase enzyme). All 93 patients reportedly noticed improvement or even complete resolution of their vision problems, and they also experienced a great decrease in all bodily inflammation, including the kind of damage in the back of the eye caused by hypertension and diabetes. He “felt like jumping up and down with joy, like a 5-year-old”. But his friend warned him that Big Pharma would never allow this information to be made public. They would get the ingredients banned, claiming they were dangerous or homeopathic nonsense. He was willing to take a risk, knowing he might save the lives of people like his wife. He couldn’t wait for millions of Americans to go blind while everything was crumbling.
They developed a product using only pure ingredients sourced from local growers who let plants naturally reach their full maturity without the use of herbicides. They worked constantly to find the most effective doses and combinations, and to put them into a small pill. They came up with a mixture of Huperzine A to inhibit the arginase enzyme, Alpha GPC (which increases blood flow to the brain), Phosphatidylserine (food for your nerve cells), niacin, and some other “special plants to increase the effects”. (There may be some preclinical evidence for some of the ingredients, from animal studies and perhaps a small human pilot study with no control group. But the mixture in ReVision itself has never been tested in a controlled study.) He finally had a pill that would restore his wife’s vision and bring their lives back. He invested everything he had in the project. His wife noticed no changes in the first few days, and she asked him if he was going to help her look for a decent nursing home. After a few more days, something amazing happened: he asked her to check their electricity bill and she did it without glasses! And she could read for more than an hour without her eyes getting tired. Her headaches were gone, and she could recognize people from the other side of the street. She was the first to see her neighbor’s lost dog – at a distance, in the dark. They thought that was doggone impressive (pun intended). They rejoiced and threw her glasses in the river.
They found 54 other people to try it: all reported dramatic improvement, as well as bursts of energy and restful sleep, with no anxiety or headaches. He claims it has been “clinically tested” (apparently on the basis of this one unpublished study with no control group!). It is called ReVision. It is carefully manufactured with sterile precautions and contains no GMOs. He says it can be more powerful than any lenses or surgery on the planet. It boosts the health of your eyes and brain, helps you see great at night, keeps your focus clear and your vision detailed and sharp. It gives you triple protection against glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. You’ll notice yourself thinking better, feeling sharper and more relaxed. Your headaches and migraines might disappear. (Or they might not. With no evidence from controlled studies, why should you believe these claims?)
He’s not interested in money. (Yeah, sure!) He keeps remembering how helpless he felt when Lucy had her accident and when she said there was no point in living any more. He may have to increase the price soon, (a common warning in these videos) but for now he is offering a 30 day supply for only $69, a 90-day supply for $59 a bottle, and a 180 day supply for only $49 a bottle. It comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
You should buy now, because supplies are running low and if they run out it will take several months to make a new supply. (Again, a common theme in these videos, and one that is hard to believe). ReVision is available only through his page and can’t be found anywhere else. He says he is dealing with threats from eyewear moguls and risking the safety of his family for YOUR safety. (He says, without evidence. Do you believe him?).
Conclusion: Not credible
Videos like this are available for many different products. They seem to be following the same formula, which a clever marketer may have devised and which may be good for sales, but it’s far from convincing. It is an appeal to emotion with no credible claims based on science.
We often wonder whether people selling dietary supplements actually believe their products work or are just cynically out to make a buck. I think there is good reason to assume these videos are examples of the latter. I have been sucked into sitting through several of these in my curiosity to figure out what they were selling, and I regret it. I hope you don’t get sucked in by similar clickbait.
This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine Blog.