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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

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)

Next Story

Think Twice Before Smoking, It is Slowly Turning You Blind

"It can be advised to consult an expert and take up a cessation programme to quit smoking. Other than this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including a range of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, that have antioxidants can help maintain retinal health," Narayanan said.

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smoking
"Smoking increases the chemical compounds in the bloodstream thereby reducing blood and oxygen flow to the retina. This makes smokers two times more susceptible to Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD)," Narayanan added. Pixabay

Do you smoke cigarettes? Think twice before taking another drag as it may not only damage your heart or lungs but can also make you blind, experts say.

Smoking harms the retina — the light-sensing tissue in the back of the eyes, responsible for transmitting images to the brain.

“It’s like a film of a camera which converts light rays into impulses which help us see,” Raja Narayanan, Head of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad told IANS.

“Smoking increases the chemical compounds in the bloodstream thereby reducing blood and oxygen flow to the retina. This makes smokers two times more susceptible to Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD),” Narayanan added.

screen
According to experts, owing to an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits and constant stress and exposure to digital screens, the incidence of retinal diseases and other eye disorders is rising amongst the working population. Pixabay

A recent study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggested that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.

Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of various diseases and premature deaths worldwide.

India was among the top 10 countries together accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s smokers (63.6 per cent) in 2015, according to a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet in 2017.

Smoking can further affect a bunch of eye diseases like cataract, glaucoma etc. While diseases related to the front of the eye are easily recognised, retinal diseases like AMD and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) might develop silently and lead to progressive vision loss if not treated on time.

“The vision loss caused by retinal diseases cannot be reversed. However, if the condition is diagnosed on time the disease can be managed effectively to prevent further loss of vision. Recognition of symptom is a key aspect for timely diagnosis,” Ajay Dudani, Ophthalmologist/Eye and Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Mumbai Retina Centre, told IANS.

smoking
A recent study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggested that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss. Pixabay

“The symptoms of these retinal diseases are often confused with those of old age or other eye disorders which leads to delayed diagnosis,” he added.

People with diabetes need to be extra cautious of any vision changes and need to follow a healthy lifestyle as they are more susceptible to diabetic retinopathy.

“Today, there are treatment options available that can slow or halt disease progression. Some of the treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment,” Dudani asserted.

smoking
Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of various diseases and premature deaths worldwide. Pixabay

According to experts, owing to an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits and constant stress and exposure to digital screens, the incidence of retinal diseases and other eye disorders is rising amongst the working population.

They say that a cessation programme can help an individual quit smoking.

Also Read: Adding Chokeberries-‘The Healthiest Fruit in The World’ in Your Diet Can Help To Boost Your Health

“It can be advised to consult an expert and take up a cessation programme to quit smoking. Other than this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including a range of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, that have antioxidants can help maintain retinal health,” Narayanan said.

“Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce etc. have lutein and zeaxanthin – both important nutrients for eye health. Certain vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A also help in overall eye health and help prevent the progression of AMD and DME,” he noted. (IANS)