Caffeine May Risk Inherited Glaucoma
People with parents or siblings diagnosed with glaucoma should think about limiting it caffeine to the number of two glasses coffee One day, says Louis Pasquale, MD, an ophthalmology professor at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.
“It’s a suggestion,” he says. “It’s not something set in stone, but if you’re interested in reducing the risk of getting the disease, it’s definitely something I’d entertain.”
Pascal and his colleagues reported what they found during the year Ophthalmology.
Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, often due to the pressure generated by an accumulation of fluid inside the eye. It can cause blindness.
The disease is more common with close family members who have it. Researchers have identified multiple gene variants that are more common among people with glaucoma.
In previous studies, people who took high doses caffeine they have had a temporary increase in eye pressure. So researchers have questioned whether long-term caffeine intake could be at risk.
To help answer that question, Pasqual and his colleagues reviewed the records of more than 100,000 people. The records came from a large survey in the UK from the UK Biobank. The records contained information about patients’ genes, how much tea or whether they drank coffee, eye pressure, and glaucoma.
Examining all participants together, the researchers found no risk of caffeine-induced glaucoma. In fact, they found that people who got the most caffeine had slightly lower eye pressure.
When they looked only at people associated with glaucoma, they found that caffeine was associated with higher average eye pressure and a higher risk of glaucoma.
This was especially true when they looked at 25% of people who drank more than 321 milligrams of caffeine (the equivalent of three cups of coffee) a day. When these people were also at the first of 25% of the genetic risk of increasing eye pressure, they were at a much higher risk of developing glaucoma. They had almost four times more disease than those who did not consume caffeine and had a lower genetic risk of 25%.
The researchers found that combinations of caffeine and genes increased the risk of glaucoma more than genes.
The researchers were unable to find any statistical link to higher eye pressure or coffee glaucoma, only with tea. But that’s likely due to a statistical problem, says research author Anthony Khawaja, an associate professor at the London College of Ophthalmology Institute. “The answer is very simple – the UK is the nation drinking tea!” says in an email. There was probably not a large amount of coffee in the database to study the risk of glaucoma.
Both are people with 25% genetic risk and 25% tea for drinking (3 to 6 cups of tea a day), for glaucoma it was almost three times higher for drinking 25% of tea and 25% lower for genetic risk.
However, this type of research cannot prove that caffeine increases the risk of glaucoma or high eye pressure, even among people at genetic risk, Pasqual says. He and his colleagues would like to do a follow-up study. There, caffeine will be given to groups of people with different genetic risks, then compared to the effects on eye pressure.
Patients should not rely on changing caffeine consumption as a way to treat glaucoma, says Asaf Achiron, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Medical Faculty in Tel Aviv, Israel, who has studied the relationship between lifestyle and eye pressure. He pointed out that caffeine has not had a significant impact on research for most people.
“Glaucoma is a complex disease. In some cases it continues to move forward [eye pressure] the declines are down, so it’s clear that there are more problems here than pressure, ”he says in an email.
However, the finding is worth mentioning to patients, he says. “I don’t discuss tea with my patients but their measurement [eye pressure]. Maybe I should. ‘