Studies about health and coffee drinking have been all over the map, but here’s one that might make java fans sit up and take notice: Moderate to heavy coffee drinkers could be more prone to develop glaucoma, an eye disease which could lead to blindness.
Researchers surveyed the caffeine consumption of nearly 80,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and about 40,000 men in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study in the US, all of whom were over 40, were glaucoma free, and had eye exams from 1980 and continuing to 2008.
As summarized by Medical News Today, the findings suggested a link between coffee drinking and vision issues:
” … compared with people who abstain from caffeinated coffee, participants who drank three or more cups daily, were at an increased risk of developing glaucoma exfoliation or glaucoma suspect.”
Glaucoma exfoliation or glaucoma suspect are two categories of damage to the optic nerve.
Apparently coffee alone is a risk factor for eye disease. The study, which was the first of its kind in the US, found no connection with other caffeinated drinks such as tea, soda, decaf, or chocolate. It did determine that women with a family history of glaucoma had a greater risk of vision problems.
Dr. Jae Hee Kang of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the study’s author, noted that the US study was prompted in part by the fact that the Scandanavian countries have both high rates of glaucoma and the highest consumption of caffeinated coffee in the world.
The study was just published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal.
Does this study make you think twice about getting your caffeine fix every morning?
[Image credit: Jonathan Trobe, M.D.]