Caffeine May Prevent Cataracts

eye health and caffeine

Caffeine and Eye Health

Caffeine may prove useful in the prevention of cataract formation as well as be ok for eye health in general.

Chalk another one up for the possible positive health benefits of caffeine!

Cataracts are responsible for nearly half of the world wide cases of blindness and can be removed with surgery, but this new study may soon make surgeries unnecessary.

A recent study showed that caffeine eye drops prevented cataracts from forming in the eyes of rats.

The Cataract and Caffeine Research

The study was conducted by Shambhu D. Varma, Svitlana Kovtun, Kavita Hegde at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University Of Maryland School of Medicine.

The study involved baby rats that were feed a diet high in galactose, which causes cataracts to form in the eyes.

One group of rats was given eye drops containing caffeine, the other group was given a placebo eye drop. The rats given the caffeine had greatly reduced cataract formation compared to the placebo group.

Researchers say that the therapy now needs to be adapted so it can be compatible with the human eye. Humans would have to consume over 6 cups of coffee (more than 600mg) daily to equal the cataract stopping properties the rats experienced.

Further testing will be required and work will be needed to develop caffeine eye drops suitable for the human eye.

We should note that this study focused on the type of cataracts that usually develop in those with diabetes.

Studies Focusing on Caffeine and Eye Health

1. Coffee and Caffeine Intakes and Intraocular Pressure

The Blue Mountains Eye Study examined 3654 people older than 49 years of age and found that more than 200mg of caffeine did increase IOP. However, after adjusting for age, sex and systolic blood pressure the association didn’t reach statistical significance. Src.

It is unclear whether those with glaucoma should avoid caffeine entirely, but having less than 200mg daily would be the safest bet.

2. Caffeine and Tunnel Vision

A study from The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics found that caffeine had no effect on tunnel vision, thus did not increase driving risk while on the supplement. Src.

3. Too Much Caffeine Causes Dim Vision, Transitory Blindness, and Eye Flickering.

A 1913 study found that caffeine overdose can cause vision problems. (Lewin, L., and H. Guillery. “The Effects of Drugs and Poisons on the Eye.” Hirschwald, Berlin (1913): 150.)

Overall, it looks like moderate caffeine is safe for those concerned with eye health. This is especially good news for caffeine lovers as well as those who have a family history of developing cataracts and/or diabetes.

To be safe, always discuss your caffeine consumption with your Opthamologist.

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Last Modified: September 11, 2014