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Does Coffee Improve Vision?

You might be aware of the connection between good nutrition and healthy vision, as it’s been shown that eating foods such as leafy greens, dark berries, eggs, and salmon may help with dry eyes and reduce the risk of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. But did you know drinking coffee could be beneficial to your eye health?

recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, claims that your morning cup of coffee helps prevent deteriorating eyesight. The research showed that raw coffee contains 7-9 percent chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that, according to the study, prevented retinal degeneration in mice.

To conduct this study, researchers treated the eyes of mice with nitric oxide, which can lead to retinal degeneration by developing free radicals and oxidative stress. The group of mice that were pre-treated with chlorogenic acid did not end up developing retinal damage.

Chang Lee, professor of food science and the study’s senior author, said the study is “important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects. Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that.”

On the flipside, there have also been studies that show a negative impact of coffee on vision. For instance, a recent study by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology showed a link between heavy caffeinated coffee consumption and an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma.

Robert Bittel, O.D., chair of the American Optometric Association’s Health Promotions Committee, said that studies touting the benefits of any consumable product warrants additional research.

“We have been aware of the importance and value that proper nutrition plays in good overall health, and specifically good eye health, for some time now,” said Dr. Bittel. “As with any study that cites commonly used food items as therapeutic in some way, caution has to be taken so that the public understands the negative as well as the positive potential implications of drinking coffee.”

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