HRT could lower glaucoma risk

Henrietta Brewer
December 16, 2017

The eye condition affects an estimated half a million people in Britain, with pressure on the optic nerve leading to vision loss if untreated.

Now they advised that "Tea drinkers should realise that the results are preliminary and drinking tea may not prevent glaucoma", said Anne Coleman, co-author of the research from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Researchers analysed data from 2005-2006 and looked at eye health in 1,678 people over the age of 40. Among the 1678 participants who had full eye test results, including photos, 84 (5%) adults had developed the condition.

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (New Orleans, 11-14 November) has found that women who take estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have a lower risk of glaucoma.

The survey used a range of tools, including interviews, physical examinations, and blood samples, aiming to give a detailed pictured of health in the United States population. Glaucoma is eye disorder that is linked to blindness. However the same tendency wasn't exhibited by the coffee drinkers, decaffeinated tea, iced tea or soft drinks.

As part of the research, participants were asked how often they drank a variety of drinks including tea, coffee and fizzy drinks throughout the year.

They concluded that based on the findings, people who drank tea were 74 per cent less likely to get glaucoma.

And previous research has suggested that oxidation and neurodegeneration may be involved in the development of glaucoma, they added.

However, drinking caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea, as well as soft drinks, is not found to create any difference to glaucoma risk.

"In summary, individuals who consumed hot tea were less likely to have a diagnosis of glaucoma compared with those who did not consume hot tea", the authors write.

Since the study is observational, no firm associations can be drawn about cause and effect.

Researchers agreed that there are restrictions in the study comprising a lack of information on the type of tea drunk, feasible mistakes in diagnosis and the truth that very less participants affected with glaucoma.

Taking into account the potential protective effect of hot tea consumption when it comes to cell aging and damage, the researchers suggest that further efforts should be dedicated to investigating the role of this common, and much-loved, beverage.

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