Coffee is the elixir of modern life, with about 90% of Americans consuming caffeine daily through various beverages. In Korea, the average person drinks 1.8 cups of coffee a day. However, as caffeine consumption has increased, so has the number of people suffering from eye diseases such as dry eye syndrome and cataracts. This has led to a growing interest in the relationship between caffeine and eye health.
Numerous studies have investigated the medical effects of caffeine on the eyes, but the results have been conflicting. Experts say that the effects can vary depending on the type of disease, genetic factors, and the amount of caffeine consumed. Nonetheless, for most people, moderate amounts of caffeine do not significantly increase the risk of eye diseases.
One such disease is dry eye syndrome, which occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eyeballs. A study published in the medical journal Cornea in 2022 found that caffeine consumption did not increase or worsen the risk of dry eye syndrome. In fact, caffeine acts as a mild diuretic, which can stimulate the lacrimal gland that produces tears, actually improving the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Another eye disease that has been linked to caffeine consumption is glaucoma, a condition that damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. Although caffeine is known to temporarily increase intraocular pressure, recent studies have shown that it does not increase the risk of glaucoma for most people who consume caffeine. However, a study published in an ophthalmology journal in 2021 revealed that caffeine increases the risk of glaucoma for people with a family history of the disease or a genetic predisposition to it. For such patients, the risk is tripled if they consume caffeine, so it’s recommended to limit caffeine intake.
Eyelid twitching, also known as myokymia, is a condition in which the eyelid muscles twitch involuntarily. While the cause is not fully understood, caffeine intake can worsen the symptoms of eyelid twitching, causing them to shake more strongly.
In conclusion, while the effects of caffeine on eye diseases are not completely clear, moderate amounts of caffeine do not significantly increase the risk of eye diseases for most people. In fact, caffeine may even have a positive effect on dry eye syndrome. However, for those with a family history of glaucoma or a genetic predisposition to the disease, it’s important to limit caffeine intake to avoid increasing the risk of developing glaucoma. So, enjoy your morning cup of coffee, but remember to drink it in moderation to keep your eyes healthy and happy.