In a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers found that heavy caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, the leading cause of secondary glaucoma worldwide.
Secondary glaucoma refers to any form of glaucoma in which there is an identifiable cause of increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.
The study was composed of two cohorts: 78,977 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) who were at least 40 years of age and did not have glaucoma.
The research team used questionnaires to obtain and validate the consumption of beverages containing caffeine and reviewed medical records to determine incident cases of exfoliation glaucoma.
An analysis of the two cohorts showed that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups or more of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect.
The researchers did not find associations with consumption of other caffeinated products, such as soda, tea, chocolate or decaffeinated coffee.
The results also showed that women with a family history of glaucoma were at an increased risk.