Chances are, if you were to join optometrist Paul Karpecki for dinner at a fancy restaurant, hes the person at the table who would get the wine list. Thats because this renowned clinician and lecturer is also a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

As Review of Optometrys education advisor and author of Research Review, Dr. Karpecki agreed to research and write this months special feature, A Toast to Wine and Your Ocular Health.

Many of us have read or watched news reports on the systemic health benefits of drinking red winebut, in this special report, Dr. Karpecki details the specific ocular health benefits of moderate wine consumption. He explains that compounds found in red wine may decrease your patients chances of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and several other ocular conditions.

Welcome Reviews New Chief Clinical Editor

Review of Optometry welcomes Christine W. Sindt, O.D., as a new chief clinical editor. Dr. Sindt is director of the Contact Lens Service and a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She joins Reviews current chief clinical editor Robert M. Cole, O.D.a private practitioner with an emphasis on glaucomato bring considerable experience in contact lenses and academic research to our editorial board.

Resveratrol, one of the compounds found in the grape skins used to make red wine, acts as an antioxidant that helps to fight inflammation, inhibit oxidation of certain cells and prevent apoptosis, or cell death. Dr. Karpecki explains how increased consumption of red wine may help prevent human senile cataract formation due to resveratrols role in reducing oxidative stress.

In fact, in the Reykjavik Eye Study, the age-adjusted, five-year incidence of any type of cataract was 32.2% among non-drinkers; however, only 13% of individuals who moderately consumed wine developed cataracts. In particular, red wine drinkers were found to have reduced risk for both cortical and nuclear cataract formation.

But, cataract isnt the only ocular disease affected by wine consumption. Epidemiological evidence suggests that regularly drinking red wine in conjunction with an antioxidant-rich diet may protect against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among the elderly. Some research suggests that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, found in red wine, help to combat AMD, while other research again suggests that resveratrol may play the key role in reducing the likelihood for developing macular degeneration.

Unfortunately for beer drinkers, the amber beverage does not show a significant effect on reducing the risk for macular degeneration.

The literature is just now beginning to uncover the scope of wines ocular health benefits, so stay tunedand dont feel bad if, after a hard day, you feel compelled to do a little of your own research.

Vol. No: 145:02Issue: 2/15/2008