The new findings show that lifestyle changes could help prevent vision loss from glaucoma, lead study author Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles, was quoted as saying by Live Science.
Published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers in the USA looked at the results of eye examinations from 1,678 participants aged 40 or over, as well as analysing data from a 2005-200 nationwide health and nutrition survery. However, drinking other caffeinated beverages like coffee, iced tea, soft drinks, as well as decaffeinated tea, were found to have no impact at all.
The study did not examine the differences, if any between black, green or white teas, or examine whether the health benefits increase if people drink larger amounts of tea every day. This survey included interviews, physical examinations and blood samples.
Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmologist, Dr Mary Qiu, said future studies should address the potential role of glaucoma screening and hormone replacement therapy in women undergoing ovary removal. Among the 1678 participants who had full eye test results, including photos, 84 (5%) adults had developed the condition. However the same tendency wasn't exhibited by the coffee drinkers, decaffeinated tea, iced tea or soft drinks.
"However, as this study looked at many dietary factors and is only a snapshot taken at a single time point, further longer term studies in the United Kingdom and other populations are needed, to see if tea drinking really does protect us from glaucoma".
The scientists warn that this is only an association noted in an observational study, so no cause-effect relationship should be inferred without further analysis.
People who didn't drink hot tea every day and those who did, had a lesser glaucoma risk, the reports displayed.
Participants were asked how often and how much they had drunk of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks, including soft drinks and iced tea in the preceding year. The study group was relatively small, and the information on when glaucoma had been diagnosed was also unavailable.
However, according to the researchers, tea contains antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective chemicals, which are linked with a decreased risk of serious conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Other factors like cup size, tea type, or the length of brewing time were also not taken into account in the questionnaire.
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