Heavy caffeinated coffee consumption may lead to vision loss

A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science shows that heavy caffeinated coffee consumption may be associated with an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, which could lead to vision loss.

October 8, 2012

A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science shows that heavy caffeinated coffee consumption may be associated with an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, which could lead to vision loss.

The study is the first to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S.-based population. 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.

“Because this is the first study to evaluate the association between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S. 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 Jae Hee Kang, Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. “It may also lead to research into other dietary or lifestyle factors as risk factors.”

Abstract

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