After reading all about how coffee has been linked to preventing disesases — Alzheimer's, breast cancer, diabetes, and more — we were wondering if the bean was too good to be true. Turns out, it just might be: a new study shows a link between coffee consumption and the cause behind vision loss and blindness.
The study, found in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, confirms a link between coffee and exfoliation glaucoma, said to be the cause of secondary glaucoma (that's increased pressure on the eye, for those of you who don't know). That secondary glaucoma can lead to damage to the optic nerve, and could result in blindness down the road. People of Scandinavian descent are known to be at risk for developing secondary glaucoma, and the researchers think they might know why — because of their heavy coffee habit. "Because Scandinavian populations also have the highest consumption of caffeinated coffee in the world, and our research group has previously found that greater caffeinated coffee intake was associated with increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, we conducted this study to evaluate whether the risk of exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect may be different by coffee consumption," said lead researcher Jae Hee Kang.
The researchers found that those who drink more than three cups of coffee per day were more likely to develop exfoliation glaucoma compared to those who drank none at all. They didn't find any link between glaucoma and other caffeinated drinks, like soda or tea. Is this enough to put the cup of joe down? As with any study, it's best to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.