(HealthDay News) – There is a positive association between heavy coffee consumption and risk of exfoliation glaucoma or exfoliation glaucoma suspect (EG/EGS), according to a study published in the September issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

To examine the correlation between caffeine consumption and the risk of EG/EGS, Louis R Pasquale, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues followed 78,977 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were at least 40 years of age, did not have glaucoma, and reported having eye examinations from 1980 or 1986, respectively, to 2008.

The researchers found that participants who consumed ≥500mg/day of caffeine had a trend toward increased risk of EG/EGS that was not statistically significant (multivariate rate ratio [RR], 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98–2.08), compared with participants whose cumulatively updated total caffeine consumption was <125mg/day. Those who drank three or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily were at significantly increased risk of EG/EGS (RR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.09–2.54), compared to abstainers. Adjusting for total fluid intake did not materially change the results. For women with a family history of glaucoma the associations were more robust. There were no associations between the risk of EG/EGS and consumption of other caffeinated products (caffeinated soda, caffeinated tea, decaffeinated coffee, or chocolate).

“We observed a positive association between heavier coffee consumption with risk of EG/EGS in this large prospective study,” the authors write. “The effect modification by family history on the association with caffeine deserves further study.”

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