Caffeine Helps Prevent Cataract

“When I wake up in the morning, I just can't get started until I've had that first, piping hot pot of coffee. Oh, I've tried other enemas.”

Emo Philips, the American Comedian was hilariously candid about his love for coffee. And he speaks for a lot of us who swear by our early morning cup of tea or coffee to kick-start our day. A study suggests that caffeine in tea or coffee, not only removes the grogginess from our eyes, but may also remove the blurriness from cataract.

A study was conducted in 2009 by the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Maryland on rats. First the rats were fed on a diet high in galactose, which induced the formation of cataract in the rats’ eyes. One group of rats were administered eye drops containing caffeine, while the other group was put on placebo. The eye doctors found that the group in which caffeine eye drops were treated with, developed less lens. While those on placebo developed opacity.

Recently, in 2013, researchers from the University Hospital Uppsala in Sweden published another study on cataract prevention and caffeine. They treated two groups of rats with placebo eye drops and caffeine eye drops. They were then exposed to UV radiation and their eyes tested for development of cataract. They found that there was significantly lesser development of cataract in the group treated with caffeine eye drops.

How does caffeine prevent cataract?

The UV rays from the sun are a significant risk factor for developing cataracts. This occurs due to the formation of free radicals which are formed when oxygen reacts with certain molecules. These free radicals are known to cause damage to the cells of our body.

Caffeine is a scavenger of these free radicals and that is how it can help is all to prevent cataract.

But then, haven’t we all heard how excess tea and coffee is bad for our health? What should one do? Stay off coffee or indulge in it to the hearts’ content… after all, we’re just protecting our eyes by drinking coffee.

The fact remains, we need to wait for further studies to be safely replicated in humans. In the meanwhile, moderation is key. Enjoy your cup of early morning tea or coffee amongst other things, it might as well postpone your cataract surgery. But this study does not warrant that 5th or 6th cup that you indulge in!

If your worries about developing cataract come from a family history of cataract surgeries, do get yourself an eye check instead of waiting for the symptoms to set in. Our cataract surgeon would love to examine your eyes and give you a clean chit! Book an appointment today for an eye test at Advanced Eye Hospital, Navi Mumbai.

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