June 15, 2021

High Caffeine Consumption May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Blinding Eye Disease

2 min read

Researchers first looked at the relationship looked between caffeine intake, IOP and self-reported glaucoma by running multivariable analyses. Image is in the public domain

Source: Mount Sinai Hospital

Consuming large amounts of daily caffeine may increase the risk of glaucoma more than three-fold for those with a genetic predisposition to higher eye pressure according to an international, multi-center study. The research led by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the first to demonstrate a dietary – genetic interaction in glaucoma.

The study results published in the June print issue of Ophthalmology may suggest patients with a strong family history of glaucoma should cut down on caffeine intake.

The study is important because glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. It looks at the impact of caffeine intake on glaucoma, and intraocular pressure (IOP) which is pressure inside the eye.

Elevated IOP is an integral risk factor for glaucoma, although other factors do contribute to this condition. With glaucoma, patients typically experience few or no symptoms until the disease progresses and they have vision loss.

“We previously published work suggesting that high caffeine intake increased the risk of the high-tension open angle glaucoma among people with a family history of disease. In this study we show that an adverse relation between high caffeine intake and glaucoma was evident only among those with the highest genetic risk score for elevated eye pressure,” says lead/corresponding author Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, Deputy Chair for Ophthalmology Research for the Mount Sinai Health System.

A team of researchers used the UK Biobank, a large-scale population-based biomedical database supported by various health and governmental agencies. They analyzed records of more than 120,000 participants between 2006 and 2010. Participants were between 39 and 73 years old and provided their health records along with DNA samples, collected to generate data.

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