BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Your Morning Coffee Can Weaken Your Vision?!

We all love that energizing cup of fresh coffee to start the day, but can too much lead to Glaucoma?

Cup of Coffee

Will you sacrifice your morning cups of coffee to save your eyesight? Photographer: Ian Britton, http://www.freefoto.com/preview/09-16-72/Cup-of-Coffee

The Harvard School of Public Health observed that Scandanavian countries consume the most amount of coffee in the world and also have the highest rates of Exfoliation Glaucoma (EG). Harvard researchers suspected a link between coffee and EG and proceeded to conduct a study. They took 78,900 women and 41,202 men who initially had no signs of glaucoma and had undergone eye exams between 1980 and 2008 and had them answer a questionnaire of how much coffee they drank each day.

The researchers then looked at their medical records to see if there was any evidence of EG present. Those that drank more than 3 cups of coffee a day, compared to those who didn’t drink any coffee at all, showed elementary signs of EG (fibrous material on lens, high pressure on optic nerve, build up of fluid in the eye) and had a 66% increased chance of developing EG. It’s peculiar how the link was only seen with coffee, not other caffeinated products such as soda, chocolate etc.

A question to ask yourself: will this really change the amount of coffee I drink everyday? Given the benefits of coffee: “decreased chance of developing hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol” does the possibility of developing EG balance out with the health benefits of coffee? I think it’s fair to say that you should and can drink less than three cups a day to stay on the safe side. Besides, isn’t 2 1/2 cups enough to satisfy your craving, support your health and still minimize your chance of developing EG?

For more information you can visit: “Coffee Might Raise Glaucoma Risk: Study” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_129935.html)

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6 Comments

  1. Gimoka

    This post is enlightening on its own, but how does come that coffee is such a widespread product and nobody really brought this up yet?

  2. arthenice

    Great information. Coffee is such a controversial drink, apparently it hurts your vision but some studies show that coffee can decrease you risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease according to dr. Hu in this article http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food?page=2

    I still drink coffe every morning some other benefits include antioxidants.

  3. biorob

    It is crazy to think that coffee, which is one of the most popular drinks in the world, causes Exfoliation Glaucoma. It is amazing how many people rely on coffee to function. As said above, I have found that coffee can have many benefits. I also agree that it can be helpful to some who are “hooked.” But Exfoliation Glaucoma is not the only negative side effect. There are many other negative side effects of coffee such as dehydration and caffeine withdrawal. If avid coffee drinkers do not drink enough coffee, they can experience headache, fatigue, and anxiety. These are some other negative side effects of coffee. Great post though!

    (http://www.livestrong.com/article/128501-negative-health-effects-drinking-coffee/)

    (http://www.webmd.com/balance/caffeine-myths-and-facts)

  4. evolucious

    Well, try some tea instead! Green tea is often touted for its health benefits. Green tea has antioxidants called catechins which are dilators, found to improve blood vessel flexibility and lessen your chances of heart disease. Read more about it here:
    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

  5. bg95

    While I agree it’s important to consider the risk of Exfoliation Glaucoma before reaching for your next cup of coffee, it is possible the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks. Along with the above-mentioned benefits of “decreased chance of developing hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol”, drinking around 4-5 cups of coffee a day can decrease your risk for various types of cancer, improve your memory, enhance your workouts, and help you to live longer.
    And regardless of the potential benefits, if you are someone who needs a “guilty” pleasure, a couple cups of coffee a day is a much better option than alcohol or cigarettes.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57436245-10391704/two-cups-of-coffee-a-day-cuts-overall-risk-of-dying-by-10-percent-research-shows/

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/22/health/coffee-reduces-cancer-risk/index.html

  6. troybolton

    I think I need to stop drinking so much coffee! I can understand how there would be a correlation between coffee and glaucoma. The heightened blood pressure alone, at least I would think, would have some bad prolonged affects. Glaucoma is a serious issue though, imagine knowing that there is a high chance that you could lose your eye sight. That just sounds terrifying to me. Despite the eye drops and surgeries, it needs to be detected early on otherwise there is not much you can do. It really is a terrifying thing.

    http://www.glaucomafoundation.org/treating_glaucoma.htm

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