In recent years, moderate wine intake has been associated with a number of health benefits, such as improved heart health, weight loss, lower risk for depression and cancer, and a longer life. Now, a new study is showing that wine may also help reduce vision loss.

The 20-year study, which was led by Dr. Ronald Klein of Wisconsin’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, suggests that moderate wine consumption can lower an individual’s risk for long-term visual impairment. For the study, researchers examined the eye health of 6,000 adults between the ages of 43 and 84. Each person’s visual health was measured based on the number of letters “lost,” which was the number of letters printed on a LogMar chart that each subject could read at the start of the study, but no longer could.

Over the course of the two-decade study, all subjects lost an average of 6.6 letters, which Dr. Klein admitted was not all that unusual considering that the aging process will lead to unavoidable vision loss. However, Klein found that those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol were less likely to experience vision impairment, with 11 percent of non-alcohol drinkers developing visual impairment compared to 3.6 percent who drank moderate amounts of alcohol.

In regards to wine specifically, vision impairment was even less common among those who consumed moderate amounts of wine on a regular basis. Only 2.7 percent of regular wine drinkers went on to develop any type of visual impairment. Visual impairment was even less common in regular wine drinkers who exercised on a regular basis.

Klein stated that while aging is a factor that cannot be prevented when it comes to visual impairment, individuals can still make healthy choices in regards to diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption that can significantly impact eye health in a positive manner. Despite his findings, Klein says that further research will still need be conducted that verifies whether alcohol or wine alone can truly help reduce vision loss.

Posted September 4, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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