April 26, 2018

Drinking tea might help reduce glaucoma risk, new study concludes

17 December 2017, 01:00 | Darrell Baldwin

Drinking tea might help reduce glaucoma risk, new study concludes

A daily cup of hot tea may lower glaucoma risk

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve and causes vision loss.

The researchers analysed data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the USA, which included eye tests for glaucoma. There was no significant correlation between glaucoma and consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, iced tea and soft drinks, and glaucoma.

Although prior research indicated that caffeine has the ability to alter intraocular pressure, a study comparing the possible impact of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks on glaucoma risk has yet to be carried out. Frequency of a diagnosis of glaucoma in individuals who consume coffee, tea and/or soft drinks.

The survey used a range of tools, including interviews, physical examinations, and blood samples, aiming to give a detailed pictured of health in the United States population.

This year, they also included eye tests for glaucoma.

Out of the 84 participants who were found to have glaucoma, there appeared to be no link between drinking coffee, soft drinks or iced tea and them having the condition.

After taking account of potentially influential factors, such as diabetes and smoking, hot tea-drinkers were 74 per cent less likely to have glaucoma.

As the study was observational, firm conclusions on the cause and effect can not be drawn.

"Evidence has shown that the antioxidants in tea are associated with lowered heart disease risk factors and possibly cancer", says Amy Keating, RD, a consumer reports dietician.

The study also had other limitations, such as the small number of participants with glaucoma and a lack of detailed information about the timeline of diagnosis.

Your morning cup of tea may have more power than you thought.

-Tea can also help protect bones.

"This study is limited by its cross-sectional design and use of multiple statistical testing, and larger prospective studies are needed to investigate the proposed association between tea consumption and decreased glaucoma risk", the authors write.

Of course, this is just a correlation and no causation has been properly explored, but the fact that the same results didn't carry over to decaf tea seems to suggest that certain plant chemicals - such as flavonoids and other antioxidants found in tea - provide a protective effect to the eyes.

However, drinking tea has been linked with a list of other health benefits over the years.

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