Scientists Says Coffee May Protect Eyesight from Blindness


Coffee is a favorite drink by a lot of people. Good news for those who are fond of coffee. A recent study says that it does not only stimulate our nerves, but it has some important beneficial effects to our eyes also. A team of food scientists at Cornell University found an antioxidant in coffee may prevent deteriorating eyesight and blindness. It occurs from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes. The report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, recently.

coffee250The key element of this theory is chlorogenic acid or CLA. It’s a strong antioxidant shown to prevent retinal degeneration in mice. The retina is a thin tissue layer on the inside, back wall of the eye with millions of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that receive and organize visual information. It is also one of the most metabolically active tissues, demanding high levels of oxygen. The lack of oxygen and production of free radicals leads to tissue damage and loss of sight, according to the study.

To examine the oxidative properties of CLA, the team of researchers from Cornell University and the Functional Food Center of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology devised an experiment. They treated mice eyes with nitric oxide, which causes oxidative stress and free radicals, leading to retinal degeneration. Mice in the test group that were treated with CLA developed no retinal damage.

Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study’s senior author, said in a news release that the study is “important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects,” He said, “Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that.” The study said that raw coffee is, on average, just 1 percent caffeine, but contains 7 to 9 percent CLA.
Meantime, researchers came to know from some previous study that coffee may cut the risk of such chronic diseases as Parkinson’s, prostate cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive declines .

Now Cornell University decided to take the next step for this research is to determine whether drinking coffee facilitates CLA to cross a membrane known as the blood-retinal barrier. If drinking coffee proves to deliver CLA directly into the retina, physicians may one day be able to prescribe a cup of coffee to prevent retinal damage.


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