Does Drinking Coffee Damage Your Eyesight?
Waking up to the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee is heaven itself. We also think most would agree that a day only officially begins once we have downed a good cup of the caffeinated blend.
While coffee comes with many positive qualities and even a few health benefits, it does fall under some scrutiny in terms of the effects it can have on one’s eyesight. It’s all about moderation really and if we consume too much of a good thing, our bodies are bound to react. An excessive intake of caffeine, for instance, could lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, and even more serious eye conditions like glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that can have a detrimental impact on a person’s eyes and vision, especially if it is not treated quickly and efficiently. This disease is a result of increased pressure in the eye which in turn damages the optic nerve. The result can be vision impairment, or in worst-case scenarios, total blindness. Glaucoma can also be painful and often unbearable.
Did you know?
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the world.
How Does Coffee Cause Glaucoma?
Many studies indicate that caffeine-laden beverages, including coffee, are prone to increase blood pressure. Consistent levels of alleviated pressure will put a strain on your eyes and can eventually cause glaucoma. This provides a substantial link between your coffee habit and one of the leading causes of blindness.
In 2012 the Harvard Medical school did a study that further secured the link between caffeine and eye disease. Their findings indicated that drinking 3 or more cups of coffee a day could encourage the development of exfoliation glaucoma. Exfoliation glaucoma occurs when a build-up of fluid in the eyes increases the pressure on the optic nerves. They also discovered that genetics played a role in the development of this disease, making some more susceptible to it than others.
Common Eye Conditions after Short-Term Caffeine Use
Apart from serious conditions like glaucoma, too much caffeine also has short-term implications. When we overindulge in coffee and other caffeinated drinks, then it’s not uncommon to experience sudden fluctuations in blood sugar levels. These fluctuations can cause blurred vision, nausea, changes in appetite, and a rapid heartbeat. Further to this, consuming too much caffeine can also result in involuntary twitches in the eyes or eyelids (a condition referred to as Myokymia). While Myokymia isn’t painful or dangerous, it can be a nuisance and a disruption to one’s lifestyle.
Many individuals find that drinking many cups of strong coffee in a short period of time reduces tear production, resulting in dry eyes. Our eyes rely on moisture to keep discomfort like swelling and burning sensations at bay. If not treated correctly, chronic dry eyes can cause inflammation, infections, corneal abrasions, and can also negatively affect focus-intensive activities such as reading.
Does This Mean That We Shouldn’t Drink Coffee?
There can be too much of a good thing and moderation is always key, even when it comes to coffee. This implies that you don’t have to give up coffee altogether, it just means that you need to limit your daily intake. Generally, it’s okay to drink coffee if you stick to one to two cups a day. In fact, studies hint that coffee can also be good for one’s health and even protect your eyesight.
How Can Coffee Protect Your Eyesight?
Raw coffee beans contain an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (GCA). GCA is great for reducing blood pressure and can also help with weight loss. More importantly, it can help to protect the body from a hypoxia, a condition caused by a lack of oxygen.
Our retinas are particularly susceptible to hypoxia, so drinking ground coffee could possibly assist in preventing impairments to your eyes and vision and thus potentially avoiding the need for glasses or contact lenses. Furthermore, tests using chlorogenic acid in its purest form have given indications that it can prevent deterioration of the retina, although there is no solid proof to back this claim as yet.