Red Wine And Your Vision

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Alcohol and flying don't mix but if you're having a post-flight pop, reach for red wine if you can and you may extend your flying years. Dr. Ingrid Zimmer-Galler told a forum at AOPA Expo that the antioxidant properties of red wine (primarily resveratrol) have been shown to reduce the incidence of cataracts by up to 50 percent and may also help slow macular degeneration, the deterioration of the central area of the retina that we'll all get to a certain degree as we age. Zimmer-Galler said diet, exercise, healthy living and common-sense care of the eyes can go a long way to keeping them in shape for life and for flying. Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration are the leading causes of vision problems for pilots and each has its own challenges. Cataracts can be fixed with surgery but it has to the right type of surgery or a pilot will lose his or her medical. Only mono-focus lens implants are approved by the FAA and most eye surgeons don't know that and may, as a matter of course, put in more modern multi-focus lenses. The FAA is now looking at changing the regs to reflect the modern techniques but it hasn't happened yet. Zimmer-Galler also advised the regular use of sunglasses to ward off all types of eye problems, but they're more important outside the cockpit, she said. "The windscreen filters out most of the (damaging) UV rays," she said.