The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol may be able to counteract the negative impact of aging and certain conditions on eyesight—in particular, diabetes and heart disease, which have related genes expressed in the retina.48,121 Based on data from a World Health Organization (WHO) report published in 2005, about 314 million people in the world suffer from impaired vision.122
In 2010 WHO determined the most prevalent eye diseases that cause vision loss as:122
Most of these conditions are related to either nutritional deficiencies and aging (or both). It’s believed that the primary cause, at a cellular level is oxidative stress—damage caused by excess free radicals resulting from a combination of environmental, lifestyle, and dietary stressors, including:122
Inflammatory conditions increase the risk of developing age related eye diseases as well.122 For example, diabetes is known to be a factor in retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract formation, and is the most common cause of blindness in adult populations of westernized countries.86 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease (e.g., high blood pressure) are also now believed to be linked to other less common eye conditions that can cause vision loss, such as macular telangiectasia (type 2).123
Prevention and Treatment
Eye diseases such as river blindness and trachoma are caused by infection and can be treated with antibiotics and antimicrobial agents; or, in severe cases, surgery. Most others, such as age related macular degeneration (AMD), are difficult and/or expensive to treat, making prevention even more important.122
Nutritional and lifestyle changes are necessary ingredients to preventing eye disease. Factors such as maintaining good glucose control in diabetics, increasing antioxidant intake, and smoking cessation are known to have a significant preventive impact.122 Reducing the oxidative damage from inflammatory conditions that lead to eye disease is also a primary preventive factor, and studies indicate that resveratrol can play an important role in preventing or treating the following eye diseases:
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Sensory tissue in the back of the eye.