Glaucoma: Tea may help ward off eye disease, study says

A daily cup of hot tea may lower glaucoma risk

Researchers who wrote in the British Journal of Opthalmology in the USA reported how they examined information from a 2005-2006 nationwide health and nutrition survey, observing the results of eye examinations from 1,678 participants aged 40 and above.

The research, published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, compared people who consumed tea and those who did not, and noted that those who consumed tea at least once a day had lower risk of Glaucoma than those who did not drink tea.

As such, they suggest that tea drinkers "should realise that the results are preliminary and drinking tea may not prevent glaucoma," said Anne Coleman, co-author of the research from the University of California, Los Angeles. Writing in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers in the USA describe the association between consumption of coffee, tea or soft drinks and this condition, which affects over 2.7 million people in America alone, and nearly 60 million worldwide. This survey included interviews, physical examinations and blood samples. Among the 1,678 participants who had full eye test results, including photos, 84 (five per cent) adults had developed the condition.

They concluded that based on the findings, people who drank tea were 74 per cent less likely to get glaucoma.

They also surveyed the participants' reactions to a questionnaire about the frequency of they had drunk coffee, hot tea, soft drinks or iced tea in the past year, and whether those drinks were caffeinated or decaffeinated.

That's when researchers found that drinking hot tea every day had a lower risk of developing the eye condition than those who didn't.

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Researchers said tea contains antioxidants and neuroprotective chemicals which have been linked to a lowered risk of serious conditions. The study group was relatively small, and the information on when glaucoma had been diagnosed was also unavailable.

-Tea can also help protect bones.

Here are some other benefits of tea that would make you even happier about your daily cuppa.

"This study is limited by its cross-sectional design and use of multiple statistical testing, and larger prospective studies are needed to investigate the proposed association between tea consumption and decreased glaucoma risk", the authors write.

Despite the findings, many in the health profession encouraged people to take caution.

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