Raise a Glass to the Holidays – A Little Wine May Help Your Eyes!

Cataracts and Alcohol

As you may know, a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t affect vision early on. But over time, cataracts eventually make it more difficult to read, drive a car or see people’s faces. Treatment includes surgery, where the cataract is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens.

According to a new study cited by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol, especially wine, were less likely to need cataract surgery. However, the researchers note that their study does not establish causation, only a strong association between alcohol consumption and cataracts.

Define “Low to Moderate”

The researchers found that people who consumed about 6.5 standard glasses of wine per week (which is within the current guidelines for safe alcohol intake in both the US and UK) were less likely to undergo cataract surgery.

The study’s findings are consistent with what is already suggested about the health benefits of red wine and with previous studies that found diets rich in antioxidants may prevent the onset of cataracts. Grape skin is loaded with healthful antioxidants, resveratrol, and flavonoids. These powerful plant compounds and antioxidants are found in somewhat higher concentrations in red wine than in white. And both red and white wine have more than beer or other spirits.

Reducing Cataract Risk

Regularly enjoying a piece of fruit and a side of vegetables can also help prevent vision loss from cataracts. Studies show that a diet rich in foods with antioxidants may reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Ultraviolet light (UV) causes cataracts, so it is wise to wear UV protective glasses, both for indoors and out of doors.

Whether or not you’re a wine drinker, for most people cataracts develop at some point with age. To detect and monitor cataract formation early, it’s important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year or two as recommended by your Atlantic Eye ophthalmologist.

This December, our doctors and staff raise a glass to all our patients for good health and good cheer this holiday season. We look forward to seeing you at one of our four convenient office locations in the new year: Eatontown, Holmdel, Little Silver, and Wall. Call us at (732) 222-7373., or use text or email contact options found at our website.