Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that leads to blurred vision due to damage to the macula. While there is no cure for AMD, certain strategies have been shown to be effective in preventing this condition and reducing the severity of vision loss in those who have it. Luckily for you, enjoying some dark chocolate might be part of an eye-healthy lifestyle.
Is Dark Chocolate Good for AMD?
In 2018, a study shared by JAMA Ophthalmology tracked the vision power of adults who ate a bar of dark chocolate. In the study, the group that consumed dark chocolate had improved visual clarity and sensitivity to contrast in the two hours following their snack compared to those who consumed milk chocolate.
While this study is just the start of this research, we do know that the flavonoids that dark chocolate contains can be beneficial for individuals with glaucoma and they can also reduce the risks associated with macular degeneration. Of course, all good things should be enjoyed in moderation, but maybe those few bites of dark chocolate shouldn’t make you feel guilty after all.
What About Other Types of Chocolate?
If dark chocolate isn’t your favorite sweet to indulge in, you might be wondering if other forms of chocolate also have benefits for eye health. Dark chocolate is believed to be beneficial because it contains a higher amount of cocoa compared to milk and white chocolate, and the cocoa is where many of the benefits (and bitterness) come from.
While dark chocolate can still contain a great deal of sugar and fat, cocoa can provide a healthy source of copper, iron, magnesium, fiber, zina, manganese, and selenium. Cocoa is also packed with flavonoids, flavones, and antioxidants. On the other hand, milk and white chocolate — while delicious — don’t have enough cocoa to provide a worthwhile dose.
So, if you’re hoping to derive health benefits from your chocolate sweets, opt for a product that is at least 70% to 80% cocoa.
Support Your Vision Health
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional chocolate treat, especially if you’re reaching for rich, pure dark chocolate. However, you can’t just eat your way to healthy eyes. If you want to protect your vision from conditions like AMD, you should schedule a regular comprehensive screening with your primary care vision doctor.
By the age of 50, everyone should attend at least one comprehensive eye screen that includes pupil dilation. Additionally, for high-risk individuals and those over the age of 60, you should make a comprehensive eye exam part of your annual routine. Don’t have a primary care vision doctor? We can help! Our Optometric Division, Vision Center South has six convenient locations throughout the Southeast. Click here to find the location nearest you.