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New Evidence That Green Tea May Help Eye Diseases

February 22, 2010

Adapted from the American Chemical Society

Scientists have confirmed that the healthful substances found in green tea-renowned for powerful antioxidant and disease-fighting properties—do penetrate into tissues of the eye. Their new report, the first documenting how the lens, retina, and other eye tissues absorb these substances, raises the possibility that green tea may protect against glaucoma and other common eye diseases. It appears in the American Chemical Society bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Chi Pui Pang and colleagues point out that so-called green tea "catechins" have been among a number of antioxidants thought capable of protecting the eye. Those include vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Until now, however, nobody knew if the catechins in green tea actually passed from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract into the tissues of the eye.

Pang and his colleagues resolved that uncertainty in experiments with laboratory rats that drank green tea. Analysis of eye tissues showed beyond a doubt that eye structures absorbed significant amounts of individual catechins. The retina, for example, absorbed the highest levels of gallocatechin, while the aqueous humor tended to absorb epigallocatechin. The effects of green tea catechins in reducing harmful oxidative stress in the eye lasted for up to 20 hours. "Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress," the report concludes.

Note from National Glaucoma Research:

Further research is needed to determine if the compounds in green tea either help to prevent or treat disorders such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. The current study simply found evidence that the compounds are absorbed by tissues in the eye.

National Glaucoma Research, a program of the BrightFocus Foundation, has committed significant money toward funding research into diet and lifestyle and their impact on eye disease, including the following projects:

Vitamin D, A Potential Glaucoma Therapy?

What diets place people at risk for developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Nutraceuticals In Prevention Of AMD Age-Related Macular Degeneration

View all news updates for glaucoma


Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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