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Drink Tea to Prevent Glaucoma?

Study says: Hot, caffeinated tea may do just that.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a hot a cup of hot tea may keep glaucoma at bay.

Sorry, we couldn’t resist the silly rhyme. In all seriousness, though, a small observational study published online last week in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that hot, caffeinated tea may help prevent glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.

The researchers, who are from the University of California at Los Angeles and Brown University, dug through data from the 2005-06 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an annual survey conducted in the United States that includes interviews, physical examinations and blood samples.

After factoring out other potential glaucoma cases, such as smoking and diabetes, the researchers found that people who drank hot tea daily were 74 percent less likely to have glaucoma than those who did not drink it.   

Glaucoma affects 57.5 million people globally and 2.7 million people in the United States. The condition causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye and damage the optic nerve.

This study is by no means absolute—it did not include information on the quantity of tea consumed daily, the brewing time or type—all of which could influence the conclusions. But the findings do seem to align with other established benefits of tea, such as its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Sorry, coffee lovers. There was no evidence to suggest a daily cup of joe had similar benefit. Nor did the data suggest that decaffeinated teas, or even iced tea of any sort, lent protection from glaucoma. 


Read Feel Good Tuesdays and Thursdays online and monthly in the magazine.  


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