Can a cup of hot tea every day keep glaucoma away?

Drinking hot tea can reduce the risk of developing Glaucoma says study

Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness, causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve.

And, while the risk of developing it increases with age, it can also affect babies and young children.

According to recent data from the National Eye Institute, in 2010 alone, 1.9 percent of the North American population aged 40 and over was diagnosed with a form of glaucoma.

But if you want to reduce your risk of glaucoma, there are other things you should focus on.

There is no relation between drinking coffee, soft drinks or iced tea and having glaucoma, even though drinks were decaffeinated or not, nor between glaucoma and decaffeinated hot tea.

So far, this notion has not been verified, since most of the research addressing the link between drinks and the risk of heightened intraocular pressure referred to small, and thus inconclusive, population samples.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 3406 United States women aged over 40, researchers found that women who had their ovaries removed and used HRT had a 9% lower risk of developing glaucoma.

While experts say the study does not show that the brew will protect you from the condition completely, they do believe the antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories found in tea might play a role in reducing a person's chances of developing it.

The results of the study were published yesterday in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The survey also included eye tests for glaucoma.

Participants were asked how often and how much they had drunk of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks, including soft drinks and iced tea in the preceding year.

Participants who consumed at least six cups a week were 74% less likely to have glaucoma when compared with those who did not consume hot tea.

To ensure the consistency of these results, the team also checked for potential confounding factors, such as a history of diabetes and smoking habits.

"However, as this study looked at many dietary factors and is only a snapshot taken at a single time point, further longer term studies in the United Kingdom and other populations are needed, to see if tea drinking really does protect us from glaucoma".

This could help explain why coffee did not have the same effect on glaucoma risk, according to Anne Coleman, the lead researcher of the study and director of the UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic.

Dietitian Catherine Collins added: "Tea is a healthy drink, rich in antioxidant polyphenols such as tea catechins and other flavonoids".

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