A recent study suggests that plant extract taken from the bark of a pine tree can improve circulation, swelling and visual acuity in diabetic patients.
Researchers at the Gabrielle D’Annunzio University in Italy have revealed that the antioxidant pycnogenol, found in French maritime pine trees, can relieve symptoms associated with early diabetic retinopathy.
Characterized by leaky blood vessels that cause damage to the retina, the condition affects nearly 45 percent of diabetic patients and is the leading cause of blindness in people with the disease.
After only three months of treatment using pycnogenol, the majority of clinical patients with early stage diabetic retinopathy reported significant improvements in both eyesight and retinal swelling.
"Our study suggests that pycnogenol taken in the early stages of retinopathy may enhance retinal blood circulation accompanied by a regression of edema, which favorably improves vision of patients," said lead researcher Robert Steigerwalt.
"Pycnogenol may be particularly beneficial for preventing this complication in diabetic patients, based on the large number of individuals who were diagnosed when the disease had already significantly progressed," he added.