Blindness Lies in the Eyes of the Beer-holder: Study

by Tanya Thomas on Nov 26 2008 9:50 AM

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beer-holder? That might soon turn into- Blindness lies in the eyes of the beer holder! Studies have proved that downing one too many mugs of chilled beer on a sultry summer day - or any day for that matter - may damage eyesight.

According to a Melbourne research, men in their 60s who drink alcohol heavily are about six times more likely to develop the most debilitating form of age-related macular degeneration, or, AMD.

Although smoking and genetics have been linked to the condition, but Dr Elaine Chong from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital decided to study the diet and eye health of almost 7,000 people over a period of time to determine the contribution of alcohol.

"We found that higher levels of alcohol, more than four standard drinks a day, was associated with a three-fold increase in end-stage AMD in men," quoted Chong, as saying.

The study found that beer drinking, in particular, carried a six-fold increased risk. Quantities of wine and spirits drunk were too low to evaluate their risk.

The same link was not seen in women, possibly because they were less likely to drink heavily, she said.

Explaining the trigger, Dr Chong said it was possible alcohol could increase oxidative stress to the retina.

"Alcohol is a neurotoxin so it is thought that high levels can actually cause retinal damage that might lead to the disease," she said.

The findings have been presented at an ophthalmology conference in Melbourne.