Resveratrol and the eye: activity and molecular mechanisms

Review Article



Alcohol consumption is inversely correlated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease. It is thought that red wine is specifically responsible for these cardiovascular benefits, due to its ability to reduce vascular inflammation, facilitate vasorelaxation, and inhibit angiogenesis. This is because of its high polyphenolic content. Resveratrol is the main biologically active polyphenol within red wine. Owing to its vascular-enhancing properties, resveratrol may be effective in the microcirculation of the eye, thereby helping prevent ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Such conditions are accountable for worldwide prevalence of visual loss.


A review of the relevant literature was conducted on the ScienceDirect, Web of Science, and PubMed databases. Key words used to carry out the searches included ‘red wine’, ‘polyphenols’, ‘resveratrol’, ‘eye’ and ‘ocular’. Articles relating to the effects of resveratrol on the eye were reviewed.


The protective effects of resveratrol within the eye are extensive. It has been demonstrated to have anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-tumourogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and vasorelaxant properties. There are potential benefits of resveratrol supplementation across a wide range of ocular diseases. The molecular mechanisms underlying these protective actions are diverse.


Evidence suggests that resveratrol may have potential in the treatment of several ocular diseases. However, while there are many studies indicating plausible biological mechanisms using animal models and in-vitro retinal cells there is a paucity of human research. The evidence base for the use of resveratrol in the management of ocular diseases needs to be increased before recommendations can be made for the use of resveratrol as an ocular supplement.


Age-related macular degeneration Alcohol Diabetic retinopathy Polyphenols Red wine Resveratrol Retinopathy of prematurity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Bola
    • 1
  • Hannah Bartlett
    • 1
  • Frank Eperjesi
    • 1
  1. 1.Ophthalmic Research Group, School of Life and Health SciencesAston UniversityBirminghamUK

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