Back in 2018, Vision Monday took a deep dive into how ECPs could educate patients on how to eat healthier and take care of their eyes at the same time. We found that eating healthy foods is a big part of a cleaner lifestyle—not only will it improve your overall health, but there are some vitamins and minerals that can have a direct effect on healthier vision. Things like beta-carotene, zinc, Vitamin C and lutein can protect cells in the eyes. But are there foods and beverages out there that can pose a hazard to your eyes?

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 may suggest patients with a strong family history of glaucoma should cut down on caffeine intake, according to an announcement from Mount Sinai.

The study is important because glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S., Mount Sinai said. 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.

Lead/corresponding author Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, deputy chair for Ophthalmology Research for the Mount Sinai Health System said, “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.”