Most people are aware of the fact that wine, in moderation, yields a number of health benefits, partly due to its resveratrol molecule element. Found in the skins of all grapes (but in higher concentration in red grapes), resveratrol protects the fruit from stressors such as fungus and drought. In the human body, it also boasts a number of protective properties including a defense mechanism element against cancer, regulating element for glucose and repair mechanism element for blood vessels. Indeed, resveratrol has been touted to be able to ward off everything from cancer and bad cholesterol to type two (2) diabetes.

With more research being conducted regarding this powerful molecule, it has come to the attention of many in the eye doctor community that wine might be beneficial for eye health as well.

Let’s take a closer look at this quasi-phenomenon.

A glass of red wine, in particular, may help stop eyesight from deteriorating, according to a U.S.-based study. Researchers have found that resveratrol stops the growth of harmful blood vessels in the retina and blindness associated with eye diseases such as macular degeneration, while other studies have linked it to anti-aging, heart disease and cancer protection, as we mentioned above.

The basis for the resveratrol theory is steeped in a study that has been conducted on mice, wherein researchers investigated whether the element can inhibit the abnormal growth of the eye’s blood vessels. Injecting the substance into mice with compromised vision appeared to inhibit the abnormal growth of blood vessels, a condition similar to macular degeneration in humans.

The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey, observed a “significant reduction” in the abnormal growth of blood vessels in mice treated with the higher dose of resveratrol. Further laboratory analysis suggested the effect was possibly due to resveratrol activating an enzyme known as “eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase,” but this contradicted previous research indicating that resveratrol interacts with proteins called sirtuins.

Any Conclusions?

Of course, researchers will have to do more testing to determine whether resveratrol or a derivative could potentially treat eye diseases in humans, and any treatment would then need to go through many stages of efficacy and safety testing in humans before it was made generally available. Whatever properties resveratrol may or may not boast, it is always best to stay within the recommended limits when drinking wine, as excessive consumption is known to be harmful to health.

Resveratrol supplements are also becoming available, however it is not yet clear if they are as powerful as the natural-occurring elements found in wine.

Your eye doctor at Matossian Eye Associates can discuss all these possibilities with you during a routine eye exam or before a surgical procedure, so call us today to book an appointment.