The findings presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conference in Orlando suggest that regular grape consumption plays a role in improving eye health by protecting the retina from deterioration.
"In mice, the grape-enriched diet provided substantial protection of retinal function which is very exciting," said lead author Abigail Hackam from the University of Miami, Florida.
The retina is the part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light, known as photoreceptors. The study 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 three servings of grapes per day for humans or one of two control diets. The results showed that retinal function was significantly protected in the mice consuming the grape-enriched diet.
"Grapes promote eye health from signaling changes at the cellular level to directly countering oxidative stress" said an excited Abigail Hackam. Grape consumption also protects retinal function in an oxidative stress model of degeneration.
Further analysis revealed that the grape diet resulted in lower levels of inflammatory proteins and higher amounts of protective proteins in the retinas.