How Does Coffee Affect Your Eye Health?

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By some estimates, about 60% of the world’s population indulges in coffee. This means that for nearly 5 billion people, coffee has become part of daily life. In spite of this, there are a lot of things about coffee that we’re only just beginning to understand. Previously, we debunked a few coffee myths, such as its supposed ability to stunt your growth, and uncovered the fact that, despite its name, decaffeinated coffee still contains caffeine. Today, we’ll look at some other surprising facts about coffee, specifically how it impacts our eyes. Let’s begin!

Coffee’s effect on eye health

Here’s the good news: according to clinical ophthalmology professor Dr. Mina Massaro-Giordano, moderate amounts of caffeine do not appear to increase the risk of eye disease for most people. For healthy adults, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends not exceeding 400 milligrams of caffeine per day or about four cups of coffee. In fact, if you’re suffering from dry eye, a common condition characterized by itchy and irritated eyes, recent research reveals that caffeine may improve the condition by stimulating the gland that produces tears. 

Another study published in Ageing Research Reviews found that the abundance of antioxidants in coffee has the potential to prevent the development of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness among all ages worldwide. Additionally, a 2021 experiment conducted on mice suggests that caffeine could be a promising nutritional supplement for slowing down the progression of age-related macular degeneration due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and neuroprotective properties. 

On the other hand, some research indicates that there’s a link between caffeine intake and an increased risk of developing glaucoma among those with a genetic predisposition to the disease. Having too much coffee, along with higher stress levels, can also trigger myokymia or the involuntary twitching of the eyelids.

Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that good eye health isn’t just achieved through diet and coffee consumption. Lifestyle habits can have a much bigger impact, so let’s go through some essential eye care practices below.

How to take care of your eyes

First and foremost, we need to talk about proper sun protection. The American Academy of Ophthalmology highlights that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun raises your risk of developing cataracts, eye cancer, growths on or near the eye, and photokeratitis, a type of eye sunburn.

The best way to protect yourself from these conditions is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection, typically denoted as UV400. Reputable online eyewear retailers have made purchasing such sunglasses easier than ever, offering access to a wide range of sunglasses from top brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Prada. On Sunglass Hut, you’ll even find exclusive models like the Jack frames by Ray-Ban. These shades come with polarized lenses in addition to total UV protection, shielding your eye from glare, enhancing contrast, and minimizing eye strain in style.

Aside from UV light from the sun threatening eye health, prolonged screen use has also been associated with symptoms like dry eyes, blurry vision, burning or itching eyes, and increased sensitivity to light, known collectively as digital eye strain. To combat this, it’s vital to exercise healthy screen habits. Experts recommend blinking frequently and using eye drops like Alcon’s Systane preservative-free lubricant eye drops to relieve dry eyes. Following the 20-20-20 rule of looking away from your screen every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds is also a good practice that allows the eye muscles to relax. 

As with anything, consume coffee in moderation to ensure that it doesn’t negatively impact your eye health. However, more importantly, don’t neglect the power of proper sun protection and good screen habits to help you better care for your eyes. 

For more articles on the benefits of coffee and how-to’s on the best way to prep your morning brew, visit the Coffee Sesh website

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