Washington: Eating grapes seem to slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition affecting millions of elderly people worldwide.

AMD is a progressive eye condition, leading to the deterioration of the centre of the retina, called the macula, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. 

A new study suggests that antioxidant actions of grapes stave off these harmful effects, the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine reports.

"The protective effect of the grapes in this study was remarkable, offering a benefit for vision at old age even if grapes were consumed only at young age," said principal investigator Silvia Finnemann of biological sciences, Fordham University, New York.

Grapes protected the retina and prevented blindness among mice. While lutein added to the diet was also effective, grapes offererd significantly more protection, according to a Fordham statement.

 Finnemann noted that results suggest that age-related vision loss is a result of cumulative, oxidative damage over time.  Aging of the retina is tied with increased levels of oxidative damage, and oxidative stress is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of AMD.

(Agencies)