SAN DIEGO, Sept. 30, 2014 -- While drinking too much alcohol is known to cause vision impairment, studies have shown that drinking red wine can have a positive effect on one's vision by helping to prevent eyesight from deteriorating. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that resveratrol, a common substance typically found in high levels in grape skins (and therefore red wine), can stop the growth of harmful blood vessels and protect the vessels in the eye from being damaged from the effects of aging. In addition to anti-aging, resveratrol has also been linked to cancer prevention and the deterrence of eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
"As more and more people look for ways to prevent AMD and other common eye disorders, they may be pleasantly surprised to find that drinking red wine in moderation can actually have a positive effect on their vision," said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman, a renowned ophthalmologist and corneal expert at Clearview Eye & Laser Center in San Diego. "While resveratrol is commonly found in red wine, individuals can also garner benefits from consuming peanuts, raspberries, red grape juice, blueberries, and cranberries. Obviously, it's very important to realize and understand that moderation is key when drinking any alcohol, and just as important is maintaining an overall healthy balance between diet and exercise. Both definitely affect one's vision."
Dr. Feldman encourages patients to pay special attention to any unusual changes in their vision and to seek treatment if they suspect they may have AMD or other vision disorder. A few common symptoms of AMD include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11 million people in the United States have some form of AMD, and this number is expected to increase to nearly 18 million by the year 2050. Macular degeneration is a condition where the macula - the small area near the center of the retina and the part of the eye necessary for sharp, central vision - is damaged. AMD is recognized as the leading cause of vision loss among adults age 50 and over.
The information regarding red wine's positive effects on vision should come as welcome news to those who observe Healthy Aging Month. Designated in the month of September, Healthy Aging Month is designed to bring national attention to the positive aspects of growing older. This includes taking responsibility for one's health, whether it be financially, mentally, physically, or socially.
As a leader in the field of ophthalmology and with more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman has participated in FDA clinical studies of Personalized LASIK. Currently, she is involved in studies of a new treatment to halt the progression of keratoconus, a disease in which the fitting of contact lenses can become challenging. In 2009, she was one of ten laser eye care providers in the U.S. to receive the Goldline Award as seen Forbes Magazine. In 2010, she was awarded the Silver Elite RealSelf award, and in 2011, she was awarded Top Doc San Diego, inducted into the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons and was one of nation's 15 leading laser eye surgeons as seen in Newsweek magazine. In 2013, Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center was voted best LASIK center in San Diego by CityBeat Magazine. Dr. Feldman is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
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