Health After 50
Caffeine: An Unconventional Treatment for Dry Eye
Caffeine may have benefits that go beyond that early-morning jolt. Researchers in Japan have shown for the first time that caffeine can significantly increase the ability of the eye to produce tears, a finding that could have implications for millions of people with dry eye syndrome.
The study, which was published in Ophthalmology (Volume 119, page 972), examined 41 men and 37 women who were free of high blood pressure, dry eye syndrome and other eye conditions that could affect tear production. The volunteers were divided into two groups for two study sessions: One group received capsules containing caffeine in the first session and a placebo in the second, while the order was reversed for the second group. The amount of caffeine given, in 200 or 300 mg capsules, was based on body weight. (A cup of coffee contains about 150 mg of caffeine.)
The study found that all 78 participants experienced significantly increased tear volume after taking caffeine when compared with the placebo group. What’s more, the researchers reported that tear production was higher among individuals whose DNA samples showed two genetic variations that play important roles in caffeine metabolism.
The suggestion that caffeine could be a therapeutic drug for dry eye syndrome could eventually lead to improved treatments for this common ocular condition that may contribute to eye infections and vision problems.
Posted in Vision on December 6, 2013
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