Hot Tea Consumption Tied to Lower Odds of Glaucoma

Joy Montgomery
December 17, 2017

Glaucoma causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye (intraocular pressure), damaging the optic nerve.

However, the team did note that there was a link to hot tea in general, with those consuming more than six cups a week less likely to have the condition. Drinking a cup of hot tea once a day can lower the risk of developing glaucoma, a serious eye condition. Glaucoma affects 57.5 million people around the world now, and is expected to increase to 65.5 million by 2020. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness.

To find this out, researchers looked at data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the USA, which is a nationally representative annual survey of about 10,000 people.

This is a nationally representative annual survey of around 10,000 people that includes interviews, physical examinations and blood samples, created to gauge the health and nutritional status of United States adults and children.

"No study to date has compared the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soft drinks on glaucoma", write the researchers.

This year, they also included eye tests for glaucoma. That year, 1,678 participants agreed to share full eye test results, and of these, 84 adults were found to have a form of glaucoma.

And previous research has suggested that oxidation and neurodegeneration may be involved in the development of glaucoma, they added.

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"Evidence has shown that the antioxidants in tea are associated with lowered heart disease risk factors and possibly cancer", says Amy Keating, RD, a consumer reports dietician.

"No significant associations were found between the consumption of coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea and soft drinks, and glaucoma risk".

Because this is an observational study, researchers say no firm conclusions can be drawn about why this may be.

Thus, the researchers suggest, it wouldn't be so far-fetched to consider that the consumption of tea could have a protective metabolic effect.

Other missing information refers to how much of the beverage the hot tea drinkers actually had each day, what kind of tea they consumed, and how it was brewed, which may have swayed the findings.

That being said, the researchers accept that there are limitations in the study including a lack of data on the type of tea drunk, possible errors in diagnosis and the fact that very few participants had glaucoma.

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