How Caffeine Affects Eyesight

How Caffeine Affects Eyesight

If you are like most people in the world, then the first thing you do in the morning is drink a cup of coffee. In fact, of nearly 3,000 adults interviewed in the United States this year, 64 percent have consumed coffee within the past day. But, have you ever wondered what that jolt of caffeine is doing to your body? Besides perking you up in the morning and giving you a pick-me-up in the evening, caffeine can have some negative effects on your body if you’re overdoing it.

That’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but it’s true. Caffeine has been linked to numerous diseases and health issues. The most surprising effect that caffeine has on your body is that it can severely harm your eyesight. But, is caffeine so awful that you should stop drinking your morning cup of Joe?

Basic Info About Caffeine

We’ve all heard it, caffeine is natural. That means that it’s okay to consume, right? Wrong, caffeine might be natural, but so is gasoline if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty, and you wouldn’t consume gasoline.

You can find caffeine in cocoa beans, coffee beans and even tea. It’s classified as a stimulant. This means that once introduced into your body, it will stimulate your mind and your body, and you give that boost of energy that you long for.

As a stimulant, it’s super effective. Often times, only one cup of strong coffee will wake you up from a dead sleep. However, it also has some adverse side effects if you drink too much. The more caffeine you drink, the more anxious you’ll feel. The more jitters you’ll get, and you might not be able to sleep until it’s out of your system. Despite these effects, many people still drink their morning coffee or tea every day without a second guess.

How Caffeine Affects Eyesight

Caffeine and Your Eyesight

One adverse side effect of caffeine that many people don’t know about is the increased risk of glaucoma. In the first ever study to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S., which was only published six years ago, it was found that people who consume large amounts of caffeine put themselves at a higher risk of losing their vision. This study was huge because it examined nearly 79,000 women and over 41,000 men over the age of 40 who did not have glaucoma and had been getting regular eye checks since the 80s.

Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three cups or more of caffeinated coffee per day were at a higher risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma. The results were interesting in that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma and ruled out other drinks that contained caffeine. This showed researchers that a particular compound that is found in coffee, when mixed with caffeine, can cause glaucoma.

But, new research is always being published and since that study, there’s been evidence that moderate coffee drinking might not have any effects. What’s even more interesting is that other caffeinated drinks, specifically tea, might even lower the risk of developing glaucoma.

However, other caffeinated beverages and food products still can cause you to be super jittery and hyper. They also can cause heart palpitations, blood sugar drops and anxiety. Food and drinks high in sugar can still lead to glaucoma.

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Should You Stop Drinking Coffee?

You’re probably wondering after reading this if you should quit drinking coffee each morning. The short answer is no. Even though caffeine is a drug, and it does have some adverse side effects, it isn’t inherently bad for you. In fact, coffee contains other ingredients that are beneficial to your eyes, like chlorogenic acid. The study discussed above recommended coffee drinkers limit their intake, not rule it out altogether.

One to two cups of coffee a day should give you the jolt that you need to wake up and keep your energy level stable throughout the day. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and consume multiple pots of the liquid gold per day, then you might want to consider cutting back.

Even though eye conditions caused by caffeine intake are seemingly rare, they do occur along with many other health issues. Moderation is key, so it would be best to cut back. But, start slow because you could suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking coffee cold turkey. If you do notice a change in your vision after consuming excessive amounts of coffee, call your doctor.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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24 responses to “How Caffeine Affects Eyesight”

  1. Avatar for Richard J Wendt Richard J Wendt says:

    Thank you, Tyler!
    These are great articles! I’m a Quality Assurance inspector at Boeing Auburn (CMM) and I one of few (at age 65) who doesn’t need glasses or contacts. And (of course) I credit you and your wonderful product. Thanks! And keep those articles coming.

  2. Avatar for Michael Michael says:

    I appreciate this article. I have been a heavy coffee drinker for several years and am trying to cut back. One – two cups a day and then herbal tea. Thank you for the article.

    • Avatar for Raj Raj says:

      Hi Michael,

      I used to drink around 4 cups of coffee a day on the weekdays and now I do not drink anymore. I have been on this since almost a year. The way I went about is, I started drinking cocoa with milk. It tastes bitter at first (like black coffee) and gradually got used to it.

      I also began drinking green tea and also milk with turmeric, black pepper and honey whenever I got an urge for coffee. Hope this helps.


  3. Avatar for Keith Keith says:

    Interesting article. Green tea may be a good alternative.

  4. Avatar for Ben Ben says:

    You’re awesome Tyler!
    I drink one Cup O’ Joe a day (and a little afternoon green or black tea) and my vision is still improving thanks to your nutritional guidance! Multiple vision programs speak of how caffeine is always bad, but with my experience and this article, it’s nice to know that my Cup O’ Joe doesn’t hamper vision improvement.

  5. Avatar for Hamid Hamid says:

    Thanks for this informative article. I really am a heavy drinker of black tea, also containing a lot of caffeine, like several mugs and tall glasses a day and have already noticed the stree on my eyes quickly after drinking them.
    I have also experienced problems like prostate gland enlargement and hair loss, which are also caused by DHT, and one factor increasing DHT is excessive caffeine intake.
    I have decided to cut down on caffeine intake and drink more water and fruit juice. Thank you again for your post.

  6. Avatar for Dariusz Dariusz says:

    How Caffeine Affects Eyesight title. The results were interesting though in the fact that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma, and ruled out other drinks and foods that were caffeinated. This showed researchers that some compound that is found in coffee, when mixed with caffeine, can cause glaucoma – only i see big quackery here? if coffe and not caffeine in other source cause this is highly possible that not caffeine but some chemical reaction cause this.

  7. Avatar for Sokim Sokim says:

    I agree with you about caffeine however I just wanted to point out your analogy about gasoline is a fallacy. Gasoline is a processed man made product, no one claims its a natural one. Crude oil on the other hand is natural and wouldn’t be safe to drink. Thought I would pass it on so,you can fix the error. Peace!

  8. Avatar for smith smith says:

    i drink coffee, not caffeine.

  9. Avatar for Conrad Conrad says:

    I drink a lot of ice tea Mickey D’s Bojangels Hardee’s etc not everyday but two maybe three times monthly plus an occasional Coke and have flashes on my right eye were I’m not seeing to well after having a retna detached few years back and have a swollen one were my doctor had to inject medicine to clear it however I do buy decaff soda and tea and coffee and never experienced this or headaches.

  10. Avatar for melvin melvin says:

    thanks for the info it was very helpful

  11. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I have Glocoma and the pressure increased and I read a research article about coffee and Glocoma. I was drinking 3 cups a day. I now have stopped because it made sense that something was making the pressure increase. I love coffee but I love my eyesight better.

  12. Avatar for Peter & Jill Gadalla Peter & Jill Gadalla says:

    Yes I have noticed that when I drink 2 small cups of black strong coffee my vision becomes blared.
    I originally put it down to too much computer, and lap top strain.
    But now after reading your article I believe there is a connection.
    Will try in the morning to avoid my coffee and see if I get the same symptoms.

  13. Avatar for mrv mrv says:

    I drink 2 heavy caffe and I had vision issues for about 5 mins
    I couldn’t see everything clear. The visions be drop.

    I have this bad situations two times in a year. So I decide to quite it for ever!

  14. Avatar for martendelon martendelon says:

    Well I did not know about caffeine does effect on eyes. I had a really big problem and went so many Eye Dr. no one told me not to drink coffee or was I drinking caffeine ? Now I know I was drinking loose tea 4 cups a day. I hope it will help me , My eyes was so dry and loosing my vision so , it is really bad. Now I can stop hope will help me.
    Thank you for the information very helpful.

  15. Avatar for Abdella Ali Abdella Ali says:

    Why doctors are double standard? Can they not criticize drinking coffee based on its ill consequences of health? Is it an issue interest? Coffee is a drug it should not be taken! fool of caffeine, chemicals, etc

  16. Avatar for Johnnomads Johnnomads says:

    My eyes were destroyed by inept eye drs, but 2 sugar free Rockstar’s a day improves my vision

  17. Avatar for Kennedy Ngolobe Kennedy Ngolobe says:

    thanks for the information. its so educative

  18. Avatar for Nicole Beauregard Nicole Beauregard says:

    I’ve been drinking so much soda with tons of caffine in it , I think I might have an addiction.

  19. Avatar for Dav2 Dav2 says:

    i started to grow hair on my palms after switching to tea

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