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Short-Term Effects Of Dark Chocolate On Retinal And Choriocapillaris Perfusion In Young, Healthy Subjects Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography

Gianluca Scuderi, Chiara Ciancimino, Fabian D’Apolito, Maurizio Maurizi Enrici, Fabio Guglielmelli, Luca Scuderi, Solmaz Abdolrahimzadeh

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(1) Aim: Contrasting results have been published on the effect of dark chocolate on visual function. The aim of this study was to evaluate retinal and choriocapillaris perfusion, using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A), and visual function in healthy subjects following dark chocolate ingestion. (2) Methods: This prospective randomized study was carried out on 18 healthy young subjects at the St. Andrea Hospital, Sapienza, University of Rome. Visual acuity assessment and a complete ophthalmologic examination were carried out at baseline. In session one, each subject was randomized to eat either a 100 g dark chocolate bar or a 100 g white chocolate bar. In session two, the opposite chocolate was given to each participant. OCT-A and best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) were performed before the chocolate was eaten and repeated 1, 2, and 3 h after that. Retinal vessel density and choriocapillaris flow area were assessed. (3) Results: 18 patients with a mean (SD) age of 26.3 (1.5) years were included. No significant differences between dark or white chocolate were found when evaluating foveal density (%), whole density (%), choriocapillaris flow area, and BCVA. (4) Conclusions: Dark chocolate did not result in significant changes in retinal perfusion and choriocapillaris flow area. However, given the results of other studies showing the positive effects of flavonoids on visual function, further studies are warranted using pure chocolate without other components such as caffeine that can potentially affect results. Furthermore, we cannot rule out the possible benefits of higher doses of flavonoids in dietary supplementation over a more extended period and in a larger patient population.