Many people claim to not be able to function properly without their morning coffee. But studies have shown that drinking caffeinated beverages can affect people who have glaucoma, or can lead to it over time. In this blog, the contact lenses providers at AAPECS Atlantic Eye Care take a closer look at how drinking coffee can affect glaucoma patients.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by pressure that builds up inside the eye, which results in damage to the optic nerves and leads to blindness. More than 2.7 million Americans over the age of 40 are diagnosed with glaucoma. Despite being the second-leading cause of blindness, glaucoma doesn’t show symptoms that precede it, like pain or blurring.
Patients who suffer from glaucoma have described loss of peripheral vision, tunnel vision, and blindness. While there is no known treatment that can reverse glaucoma, it can be slowed down if detected in its early stages. Preventive treatments such as LASIK and managing factors that can affect it have had significant success rates.
How Caffeine Affects the Eyes
Caffeine elevates pressure in the eyes by increasing production of aqueous humor, or the fluid that fills the front part of the eye. Further fluid production is stimulated by elevated blood pressure, also caused by caffeine. This increases the risk for people who may already have a predisposition to glaucoma, such those who have diabetes and/or have family history of glaucoma.
In addition to coffee, caffeine is present in beverages such as tea and soda, as well as in chocolate and medication for headaches and menstrual cramps. Even decaffeinated coffee can contain between 2 and 12 milligrams of caffeine. In contrast, a cup of coffee can contain up to 180 milligrams. You will need to make some changes to your lifestyle to reduce caffeine-induced glaucoma risks, such as:
- Visit an eye care specialist for an eye exam to determine if you are at risk of glaucoma.
- Reduce your intake of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Immediately cutting your consumption of caffeine—what some people refer to as going “cold turkey”—could result in headaches that may impair your performance at work or school. Consult your physician for the best way to ramp down your caffeine intake.
- Your physician can also prescribe a different type of pain medication if the one you’re taking contains caffeine.
AAPECS Atlantic Eye Care is your leading provider of eye care services and eyeglasses. Give us a call at (757) 340-7070 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Norfolk, VA, and nearby areas.