Eye exam (370).
(photo credit: Courtesy Rabin Medical Center)
A new study suggests caffeinated coffee drinkers should limit
their intake to reduce their chances of developing vision loss or blindness.
According to a scientific paper in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual
Science, heavy caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with an increased
risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, the leading cause of secondary glaucoma
The study, The Relation between Caffeine and Coffee
Consumption and Exfoliation Glaucoma or Glaucoma Suspect: A Prospective Study in
Two Cohorts, is the first to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and
exfoliation glaucoma in a US–based population.
populations have the highest frequencies of exfoliation syndrome and glaucoma,”
said author, Jae Hee Kang, ScD, of Channing Division of Network Medicine at
Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Because Scandinavian populations
also have the highest consumption of caffeinated coffee in the world, and our
research group has previously found that greater caffeinated coffee intake was
associated with increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, we conducted this
study to evaluate whether the risk of exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect
may be different by coffee consumption.”
The study was composed of two
cohorts: 78,977 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 41,202 men from
the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) who were at least 40 years of
age, did not have glaucoma and reported undergoing eye examinations from 1980
(for NHS participants) and 1986 (for HPFS participants) to 2008. The research
team used questionnaires to obtain and validate the consumption of beverages
containing caffeine and reviewed medical records to determine incident cases of
exfoliation glaucoma, which contributes to elevated pressure sufficient enough
to damage the optic nerve, or exfoliation glaucoma suspect that have milder or
only suspect optic nerve damage.
A meta-analysis of the two cohorts
showed that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups or more
of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk of developing exfoliation
glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. The researchers did not find associations with
consumption of other caffeinated products, such as soda, tea, chocolate or
decaffeinated coffee. The results also showed that women with a family history
of glaucoma were at an increased risk.
Kang, along with his colleagues,
report that this study represents a much needed effort to better understand the
causes of exfoliation glaucoma, which are largely unknown.
is the first study to evaluate the association between caffeinated coffee and
exfoliation glaucoma in a US population, confirmation of these results in
other populations would be needed to lend more credence to the possibility that
caffeinated coffee might be a modifiable risk factor for glaucoma,” said Kang.
“It may also lead to research into other dietary or lifestyle factors as risk
This article was first published at www.newswise.com