Imagine losing your eyesight at 40 years old—no longer being able to drive a car or watch your children grow up. Unfortunately, that’s a reality for millions of people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma, a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness, according to the National Health Institutes. Now a small study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reveals that enjoying “a spot of tea” may help lower your risk of developing this debilitating disease by 74 percent.
Researchers reviewed data from the health and diet questionnaires of 1,678 men and women who participated in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the U.S., reports Science Daily. Using a validated questionnaire, participants were asked about their caffeinated and decaffeinated drinking habits over a 12-month period.
When comparing the information of those who drank caffeinated tea daily to those who did not, the daily tea drinkers revealed a lower risk of developing the disease. However, there were no benefits to consuming iced tea, decaffeinated tea, coffee, or soda (sorry!).
“More research is needed to establish the importance of these findings and whether hot tea consumption may play a role in the prevention of Glaucoma,” the researchers told Science Daily.
Glaucoma causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., and currently affects 57.5 million people worldwide. The American Optometric Association recommends those at risk for glaucoma, including those with a family history, African Americans over the age of 40 and Hispanics over the age of 60, receive an annual dilated eye examination to screen for the disease.
One thing is for certain—tea has been associated with helping to fight heart disease, cancer, and diabetes due to its plentiful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which may also contribute to lowering the risk of glaucoma. As a bonus, drinking black tea can help you lose weight!