(CBS) And yet another reason to have a glass of red with dinner - or perhaps, in this hot weather, an icy glass of sangria.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say that resveratrol - a compound found in the skin of red grapes and blueberries - may prove useful in preventing the vision loss associated with diabetes and old age.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that resveratrol helps block the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye, such as that associated with macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.
Researchers say resveratrol could also prove useful in treating two other eye disorders: diabetic retinopathy, which causes vision loss in about 20 percent of people with diabetes, and retinopathy of prematurity, a condition that strikes some babies born prematurely.
Using resveratrol pills to treat humans remains a distant goal, but the study's lead author is hopeful.
"This could potentially be a preventive therapy in high-risk
patients," Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, said in a prepared statement. He said it might help prevent vision loss even after the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina had begun.
Just don't try putting resveratrol to work on your own. To get the same dose given in the study, Apte says, you'd have to drink several bottles of wine.