Regular consumption of grapes may protect the retina from deterioration, a new study has recently found. Specifically, a grape-enriched diet resulted in a protective effect on retinal structure and function.
The retina is the part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light, known as photoreceptors. There are two types of photoreceptors: rods and cones. Retinal degenerative diseases affect over 5 million people in the U.S., and can cause blindness due to photoreceptor cell death.
The study was conducted by a research team at the University of Miami, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and investigated whether a diet supplemented with grapes could protect the photoreceptors in mice with retinal degeneration. Mice were either fed a grape-supplemented diet corresponding to 3 servings of grapes per day for humans or one of two control diets.
"The grape-enriched diet provided substantial protection of retinal function which is very exciting," said Dr. Abigail Hackam, lead investigator of the study. "And it appears that grapes may work in multiple ways to promote eye health from signaling changes at the cellular level to directly countering oxidative stress."