We all need to take more and more precautions to protect our vision as we get older. But while that might seem like a drag, here’s a little good news: Your nightly glass of red wine could actually be an easy (and delicious) way to keep your eyesight strong and free of cataracts on top of helping you unwind!
Cataracts occur when there’s clouding over the lenses of your eyes, which leads to blurry, foggy, and unclear vision over time. There are more than 200,000 cases per year in the U.S., and the only way to treat the condition long-term is to undergo surgery. However, a new study in Ophthalmology coming out of the United Kingdom investigated survey data from almost 500,000 participants and found that people who drank a low to moderate amount of red wine — roughly six and a half glasses per week — were up to 23 percent less likely to need cataract surgery.
That said, this is not a case of the more, the merrier; heavier drinkers who consumed more than that threshold of six and a half glasses of wine per week were actually six percent more likely to need cataract surgery than moderate red wine drinkers.
Why does red wine make such a difference? Scientists who conducted the study said that while more research needs to be done to determine the exact cause, previous work points to the fact that grapes and especially grape skins, which are obviously a big part of red wine’s makeup, are rich in antioxidants, resveratrol, and flavonoids. These three different plant-based compounds are found in fruits and vegetables. They work together to regulate and maintain proper cellular activity, stop harmful free radicals from destroying cells, and prevent signs of aging — which often includes diminishing vision and issues like cataracts popping up over time.
The next time anyone tells you to maybe curb your little red wine habit, let ’em know that you’re just looking out for your eyesight!
This story originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.