Drinking Coffee Good for Eye Health

1 January 2006  |  Eyecare Partners

A new study by Cornell University and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in December 2013 showed that coffee prevents retinal degeneration.

In the study, mice eyes were given nitric oxide which creates oxidative stress and free radicals. Oxidative stress and free radicals are damaging to tissuevcells. Retinal tissue is particularly affected as the retina has very high levels of metabolic activity, thus creating a lot of damaging oxidative free radicals. In humans this contributes to age related macular degeneration.

Coffee contains 7-9 % chlorogenic acid (CLA), a strong antioxidant. In mice it was found that giving them coffee prevented retinal degeneration.

It is already known that CLA is absorbed into the human digestive system, so the next step for the research is to determine whether drinking coffee allows CLA to cross a membrane known as the blood retinal barrier. If drinking coffee proves to deliver CLA directly into the retina, then in future drinking a cup of coffee might be recommended as prevention or treatment for diseases such as Macular Degeneration. For those who don't like coffee, the research may pave the way to develop synthetic compounds to deliver CLA with eye drops.


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