As you get older, your eyes naturally don’t see as well as they did when you were younger. Plus, your eyes are more susceptible to age-related eye conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma. For this reason, it’s important to take good care of your eyes by getting regular eye exams, which should be more frequent as you age.

A new study has found that there appears to be a link between moderate wine consumption and a reduced risk of cataracts requiring surgery.

Study Links Wine to Reduced Risk of Cataracts

Researchers UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust put together a study to determine the link, if any, between drinking alcohol and the risk of cataracts. The study followed the lives of 490,000 volunteers throughout the United Kingdom and found that the people in the study who drank around 6 and a half glasses of wine each week were less likely than others to need cataract surgery.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom find 6 and a half glasses of wine per week to be a safe amount of alcohol to drink. People who drank more, who drank different types of alcohol, or who didn’t drink at all, were more likely to need cataract surgery. While the study didn’t show that drinking wine caused the reduction in cataract surgery, it did establish the link between drinking wine in moderation and a lower risk of cataracts.

According to the study, this is in line with existing knowledge of the benefits of antioxidants found in red wines. Because red wine is antioxidant rich, thanks to grape skins, those who consume it regularly are able to avoid the onset of cataracts. This also suggests that red wines are much more beneficial than white wines in preventing cataracts from developing.

What Are Cataracts?

In the eyes, cataracts are the clouding of the lens of your eye. Normally, the lenses of your eyes are clear. But as you age, cataracts can develop and blur your vision. People suffering from cataracts may feel like they’re looking through a foggy or frosted-up window.

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

The primary symptom of cataracts is blurred vision. People with cataracts may also have difficulty seeing in dim light or may see halos around a light source. They may also experience vision loss. To an external viewer, cataracts may appear as a white spot in the center of the patient’s eye. Cataracts worsen gradually and at first might not affect vision at all. However, over time, they steadily worsen until they affect daily life.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

When a cataract gets to the point that it’s interfering with a person’s daily life and activities, there’s a surgical procedure that can be done to remove the cataracts. The surgeon removes the natural lens of the eye, which is where the cataracts are located, and replaces the lens with an artificial one that is clear. Typically, this procedure is minimal enough that it’s an outpatient procedure.

How Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

Even better than treating cataracts is preventing them from developing in the first place. The following can help to reduce the risk of cataracts as you age:

  • Regular optometrist visits
  • Not smoking
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables
  • Managing health conditions
  • Drinking wine

How Does Drinking Wine Help Prevent Cataracts?

Although in general reducing your alcohol intake can help to reduce the risk of cataracts, researchers have found that drinking alcohol in moderation and drinking wine specifically can actually help to prevent cataracts as well. Of all the different types of alcohol, the researchers found that wine had the best results. This is likely because of the antioxidants found in wine.

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