On extra sleepy mornings, a hot, freshly brewed cup of coffee may be the only thing keeping our eyes open and focused for the long work day ahead. You might be wondering if these eye-opening properties extend beyond a single cup’s influence. Can drinking coffee improve our vision in the long run? Or is it bad for eyesight? The answer to both of these questions can be yes. It all depends on how much you drink.
Why Coffee Strengthens Your Vision
Chlorogenic acid is one of the many compounds contained in a cup of coffee. This beneficial antioxidant is found in other foods and beverages you probably consume, such as certain fruits and teas. Studies show that chlorogenic acid regulates glucose and promotes insulin secretion, which may lessen your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other studies show that this same antioxidant also helps to prevent your retina from deteriorating due to lack of oxygen, an injury which is known as oxidative stress. This is because chlorogenic acid reduces high blood pressure and promotes circulation. Drinking coffee in moderation may protect your vision and give you these other health benefits.
Does Drinking Coffee Give You Glaucoma?
While chlorogenic acid might be beneficial to your eyesight, other studies reveal a correlation between consistently drinking 3+ cups of coffee and developing glaucoma. This is caused by excessive pressure on the optic nerve, which can occur if your blood pressure is too high.
Researchers theorize that the regular subjection to large levels of caffeine may be partially responsible for the high blood pressure and resulting glaucoma. Even so, family history played a bigger part than coffee, suggesting that your chances of developing glaucoma may be influenced by genetics more than environmental factors.
A Happy Medium: How Much Coffee Should I Drink Each Day?
The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg a day for the average adult. This is equal to about 4 cups of coffee brewed at home, or one or two drinks at a coffee shop such as Starbucks. Coffee contains varying amounts of caffeine according to the beans and brewing methods. Commercially brewed coffee tends to be a little stronger than the cup you’ll get at home. Obviously, this also depends on the size of your cup. For our purposes, we consider a cup to be an 8 oz. serving. Aim for 1-4 cups of coffee to receive a daily supply of antioxidants while not hazarding your health.
As long as you keep your caffeine consumption to 400 mg a day or lower, you should be able to benefit from drinking coffee while avoiding the associated risk of developing glaucoma. In moderation, the chlorogenic acid found in coffee improves circulation and reduces blood pressure, which can be helpful for your vision overall.
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