Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world, is defined by the National Eye Institute as “a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.” The optic nerve is crucial part of the visual anatomy that carries signals from the eye to the brain, so when that part of the eye is damaged, nerve tissue — and thus vision — is lost. There are, however, ways to prevent damage through early detection, proper treatment, and even through diet,
Study Says, “Have A Cuppa Tea”
In a new study published by the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers surveyed 1,678 participants in efforts to see if there was a connection between glaucoma and the consumption of certain caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
While results for decaffeinated tea, iced tea, coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated), and soft drinks all had underwhelming results (so, practically no link), hot caffeinated tea did. In fact, researchers found that those who drank at least one cup of caffeinated hot tea each day were 74 percent less likely to have glaucoma, compared with non-tea drinkers.
So, Caffeine isn’t All Bad
Keep in mind that this important link to less glaucoma was with caffeinated hot tea. Researchers believed that the tea simply contains more antioxidants, phytochemicals and flavonoids than coffee, while coffee contains more caffeine and less healthy components (which is likely why coffee consumption was not found to have any correlation with a diminished risk for glaucoma). Additionally, the plant-based compounds found in tea have anti-inflammatory properties which further benefit drinkers of this beverage.
Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms
With the most common form of glaucoma — open-angle glaucoma — there are virtually no symptoms or pain associated with the increased eye pressure. The best approach to this condition is to get tested so that if a positive diagnosis is received, immediate treatment can begin.
Start Preventing Glaucoma Now
Around 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and older and just over 60 million people globally currently have glaucoma. While there is no cure for the condition, we can still make eye-healthy choices and implement a healthier lifestyle overall. Start by getting your routine eye exams, drinking hot caffeinated tea, and eating healthy foods rich in flavonoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
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