Tuesday July 17, 2018

Drinking hot tea may be less likely to develop glaucoma

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Drinking hot tea may be less likely to develop glaucoma
FILE - A woman walks in a yard where tea leaves are dried at a tea company in Dening, Fujian Province, China, April 2, 2016. U.S. researchers say people who drink hot tea daily may be less likely than others to develop glaucoma symptoms. VOA
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January 1, 2018: People who drink hot tea daily may be less likely than others to develop glaucoma symptoms, U.S. researchers say.

Compared to coffee, soft drink and iced tea drinkers, study participants who consumed a cup or more of hot caffeinated tea daily had 74 percent lower odds of having glaucoma, the study authors report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

“Glaucoma can lead to blindness, and it would be great if it could be prevented because there is no cure,” said lead author Dr. Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The best way to prevent it is to get your eyes checked,” Coleman told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “But we are also interested in lifestyle habits and what we can do to make a difference.”

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, affecting an estimated 58 million people. That includes more than three million Americans, only half of whom are aware they have the disease, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Coffee, or caffeine in general have previously been linked to increased glaucoma risk, although recent studies don’t agree, Coleman and her colleagues write.

To evaluate the relationship between specific caffeinated drinks and glaucoma, Coleman and colleagues analyzed data on a sample of more than 10,000 people in the U.S. who were representative of the entire population.

Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2005-2006 answered questions about their diets and lifestyles, had medical exams and blood tests and also underwent eye examinations.

About 1,700 participants were over age 40, had no other known eye diseases and had full eye examination results from the survey. In this group, Coleman’s team found that just over 5 percent, 82 people, had glaucoma.

Almost half of participants reported drinking coffee often, but less than 10 percent drank hot tea daily. The research team found no associations between coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea or soft drink consumption and the likelihood of having glaucoma.

“Tea drinkers should keep drinking and don’t need to stop because of a fear of glaucoma,” Coleman said. “This makes sense, but we’ll see if it holds up in future studies.”

Future studies should look at the habits, activities and nutrition that affect lifestyle and glaucoma risks, said Idan Hecht of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, who wasn’t involved in the research.

“In the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in interest, and subsequently research, into the ways lifestyle changes can influence diseases,” Hecht told Reuters Health by email.

Recent research indicates that vitamins C, E and zinc can help vision. Other studies indicate that antioxidants in tea could have similar effects, he noted.

“Patients can and should be involved and take an active role in the management of their ailments,” Hecht said. “Exercising, eating healthy and trying novel ways to improve your health is something you should definitely explore and bring up with your physician.”

Environmental factors could play a role in glaucoma risk as well, said Dr. Ahmad Aref at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“As our population grows older, we need to think about the other factors that could help, particularly when it comes to the health benefits of physical activity,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

Overall, both medical and non-medical approaches are key to treating the disease in the future, Aref added.

“It’s a tough disease because we don’t have a way to bring vision back once it’s lost,” he said. “All we can do is prevent it from getting worse, and we want to help patients do that.” (VOA)

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Low Carb and High Fat Diet May Help Maintain Eyesight

Higher rates of glaucoma in people with diabetes suggests a potential connection between this eye disease and metabolic stress.

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Switching mice destined to develop glaucoma to a low carbohydrate, high fat diet protects the cells of the retina and their connections to the brain from degeneration.
Diet is very important in maintaining a healthy eyesight. Pixabay

Besides helping lose weight, consuming a ketogenic diet — which is high fat, low protein and low carbohydrates — can also help maintain vision in patients with glaucoma, finds a study conducted over mice.

Glaucoma is a progressive disease in which damage to the cells that transmit visual information to the brain leads to vision loss and, in some cases, blindness.

Higher rates of glaucoma in people with diabetes suggests a potential connection between this eye disease and metabolic stress.

Switching mice destined to develop glaucoma to a low carbohydrate, high fat diet protects the cells of the retina and their connections to the brain from degeneration.
Low carb diet can maintain eyesight. Pixabay

The findings led by Denise Inman from the Northeast Ohio Medical University in the US showed that low carb, high fat diet protects retina cells and their connections to the brain from degeneration.

Switching mice destined to develop glaucoma to a low carbohydrate, high fat diet protects the cells of the retina and their connections to the brain from degeneration.

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The results, published in the journal JNeurosci, found that feeding mice, genetically modified to develop glaucoma, a ketogenic diet composed of nearly 90 per cent fat for two months protected retinal cells from degeneration by increasing energy availability.

Although further research into this intervention is required, these findings suggest that a ketogenic diet may help to maintain vision in patients with glaucoma, the researchers said. (IANS)

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