Coffee is the most popular beverage worldwide and it is available in both hot and cold variations. Nearly 80% of people rely on a caffeinated drink to start their day and continue taking more of it to improve their work performance and activity levels. However, the new study proposes that caffeine may be linked to the increased risk of blindness, glaucoma, and other eye diseases.
This is a first of its type study that is led by a research team from the Cahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai. For the very first time, a study has demonstrated a dietary plus genetic link in the progression of glaucoma. The complete study findings are soon to be published in the journal Ophthalmology June edition, suggesting people with a family history or at a high risk of glaucoma to drop caffeine intake to save themselves from blindness.
Not many people know but glaucoma is the number one cause behind blindness in the US and sharing a connection with coffee, the most popular drink in the country makes it more dangerous. This high caffeine intake increases the intraocular pressure inside the eyes which increases the likelihood of glaucoma. However, caffeine is not the only risk factor behind blindness. Still, glaucoma patients experience no signs unless the disease reaches an advanced level or they already lose their eyesight, therefore, limiting the caffeine intake beforehand may cut the risk.
The previous work in this regard suggests that taking a high amount of caffeine is harmful to people with a family history of glaucoma. But this current study proves that this adverse relation between these two is only shown up among people who possess a high-risk score as to increased eye pressure.
For this study, the research team obtained the data from UK Biobank. Going through the medical history of at least 120,000 participants from 2006 to 2010, they were able to list them according to their ages and records. All the participants aged between 39 and 73 years old and had complete health records available. These participants were asked questions regarding their diet especially the amount of caffeine that they consume per day, caffeinated diet, portion size, and type of food they prefer. They were also questioned for their vision and any changes to the vision during the last few years. The questions about glaucoma, blindness, or a family history of any of these along with high caffeine intake were also investigated.
Based on the information, they analyzed the caffeine intake, and the IOP records and self-reported this information confirmed by multivariable analyses. The genetic element of these relationships was also determined. And every participant was given a risk score based on his individual history and risk of damage.
The research team was astonished to see that caffeine intake showed no association with higher IOP, blindness, glaucoma, or anything. However, 25% of the participants reported higher IOP and a higher risk of eye diseases
Those consuming more than four cups of coffee were reported with high IOP. Those taking three cups were also at risk of developing glaucoma whereas those who don’t take caffeine and any caffeine-infused food were found at zero risks.