Study finds occasional drinking can boost eye health
Don Ames Reporting
Here's mud in your eyes!
A recent study says regular exercise and occasional drinking may be good for your eyes.
Researchers studied 5,000 adults, aged 43 to 84, over 20 years and found that 5.4 percent of them developed visual impairment over that time. Visual impairment developed in 11 percent of nondrinkers and only 4.8 percent of occasional drinkers.
"So, it seems to show that if you didn't drink anything, you had a higher chance of losing vision than if you did drink something," says Dr. Jayne Weiss, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at LSU Health Sciences Center.
The study described occasional drinkers as those people who had alcohol in the past year, but fewer than one serving during the average week.
According to the study, published online recently in the journal Ophthalmology, heavy drinkers and heavy smokers were somewhat more likely than nondrinkers and nonsmokers to develop visual impairment.
Visual impairment is defined as sight loss that's caused by eye disease, injury or a medical condition and that cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.
Dr. Weiss says lifestyle behaviors like smoking, physical activity and drinking do have an effect on the body, including the eyes. "But there are a number of variables in the study that make it less than conclusive regarding alcohol."
She agrees with most of the study, however.
"It's not good to smoke. It's not good for your health, it's not good for your vision," she says. "Physical activity is good for you and it's good for your vision...exercise more than three times a week if you're able to do it. But, the alcohol part is intriguing...I think the jury's out on this one."
"Moderate drinking may be associated with losing less vision as you're aging, but we don't know, for sure, quite yet."
"Don't sit on the couch, drinking and smoking! New Orleans is a beautiful place! Go out and do something!