Usually we’re told that drinking alcohol is terrible for our health – and don’t get us wrong it definitely can be.
However, a new study will make wine lovers grin from ear to ear.
Research has shown that drinking alcohol in moderation can cut the risk of needing eye cataract surgery by almost a quarter.
The study found that chugging wine was the most effective for this reason with five or more glasses per week reducing the need for eye cataract surgery by 23%.
While the reason for why this happens is unclear, scientists believe it may be due to polyphenol antioxidants which could have a protective role and are abundant in red wine.
The study, carried out by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and University College London's Institute of Ophthalmology found people who drank up to 14 units per week are less likely to need cataract surgery.
This is where cloudy patches are removed from the lens of the eye.
The most significant lowering of risk was linked to wine drinkers rather than those who drink spirits or beer.
Researchers stated: “Our findings suggest a lower risk of undergoing cataract surgery with low to moderate alcohol consumption.”
The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
That’s the equivalent of about six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-percentage wine.
The research examined data from over 490,000 people in the UK Biobank and EPIC-Norfolk cohort studies.
It is the largest study of its kind, reports the Daily Mail.
A team of pros compared how much people claimed they drank with records of cataract surgeries and adjusted for factors which could affect the results like age, weight and sex.
Writing in the journal Ophthalmology, they concluded: “Our findings suggest a lower risk of undergoing cataract surgery with low to moderate alcohol consumption.
“The association was particularly apparent with wine consumption.”
They did note that drinking large amounts of booze was linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
It’s thought that 30% of over-65s have cataracts which affect their vision in one or both eyes.
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Dr Anthony P Khawaja, who led the research, said: “We observed a dose-response with our findings – in other words, there was evidence for reducing chance of requiring future cataract surgery with progressively higher alcohol intake, but only up to moderate levels within current guidelines.
“This does support a direct role of alcohol in the development of cataracts, but further studies are needed to investigate this.”
“The fact that our findings were particularly evident in wine drinkers may suggest a protective role of polyphenol antioxidants, which are especially abundant in red wine,” added Dr Sharon Chua, who also worked on the study.
If you are struggling with your alcohol intake contact your GP or visit drinkaware.co.uk for advice and support.
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