Drinking moderate amounts of wine might lower the risk of an eye disease that’s a leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in the elderly.
In a large study of people ages 45 to 74, researchers found that wine drinking was associated with lower rates of age-related macular degeneration.
The disorder, which impairs sight in about 1.7 million Americans over 65, robs people of their sharp central vision needed for activities such as reading and driving.
The study found the lowest risk in people who reported having only about one drink of wine a month, but because of faulty recall that could really be two or three drinks, said Dr. Thomas Obisesan, chief of the geriatrics section at the Howard University Hospital in Washington.
Beer and liquor showed no significant effect on the risk of the disorder.
Obisesan and other researchers report the study in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Because of how the study was designed, it can’t actually prove that wine consumption lowered the risk of the eye disease. And it’s not clear how wine would reduce the risk of the disorder, researchers said.
Prior studies have concluded that moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart disease.
For the new work, researchers examined data from 3,072 participants in a huge federal study that was done in the 1970s.
The participants had an eye exam as part of that study, and 184 had the eye disease.