Green Tea and Eyes Benefits
UV, Cataract and MD Glaucoma

Three little known green tea and eyes benefits. What can be more precious than your vision?



We have heard about the many health benefits of drinking green tea. One of the chief constituent of green tea is epigallocatechin-gallate (pronounced as eppy-gallow-CAT-akin gallate), commonly known as EGCG.

While EGCG is present in all types of Camellia Sinensis tea, it is only found in abundance in lightly oxidized tea such as green tea and white tea. Almost all the widely publicised health benefits of green tea are associated with EGCG. And even the little known ones too!

Yes, I am talking about the little known green tea eye benefits! Scientists have found that EGCG may protect your vision in at least four ways:

  • Protects Retina, Lens and Aqueous Humor

  • Protects Retina Against UV Damage

  • Prevents Cataract Formation

  • Protects Against Age Related Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

All four studies listed below are preliminary and do not include human trials. Nevertheless, the next time you feel your eyes becoming brighter after a refreshing cup of tea - you will know why!s

Green Tea and Eyes Benefit #1:
Protects Against Oxidative Stress

A 2010 study conducted by Chinese University of Hong Kong shown that green tea antioxidants can be found in eyes more than 20 hours after they have been consumed.

The scientists showed for the first time that lens, retina, and other eye tissues absorb these protective substances, raising the possibility that green tea may protect against glaucoma and other common eye diseases.

Chi Pui Pang and colleagues pointed out that so-called green tea “catechins” have been among a number of antioxidants thought capable of protecting the eye. Other beneficial substances 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.

“Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress,” the report concluded.

Green Tea and Eyes Benefit #2:
Protects Retina Against UV Damage

A 2007 study conducted by Chosun University College of Medicine in Korea discovered that the green tea antioxidant EGCG can protect human retinas against UV damage.

The scientists concluded:

The administration of EGCG increased the cell count and the cell activity after UV irradiation in cultured human retinal pigment epithelial cells; this suggests that EGCG provided protection against UV damage in cultured human retinal pigmented epithelial cells.

Green Tea and Eyes Benefit #3:
Prevents Cataract Formation

Another 2002 study conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences found that green tea may protect against the formation of cataracts in rats. To quote the study:

Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is a multifactorial disease primarily associated with oxidative stress produced by free radicals.

The protection offered by various antioxidants in cataract development is well established. Polyphenolic compounds present in green tea (Camellia sinensis) are reported to possess antioxidant property in various pathological conditions.

The present study was undertaken to evaluate the anticataract potential of green tea leaf (GTL) extract in the development of lens opacification.

Green tea was also found to reduce the incidence of selenite cataract in vivo. The results suggest that green tea possesses significant anticataract potential and acts primarily by preserving the antioxidant defense system.

Green Tea and Eyes Benefit #4:
Protects Against Age Related Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

Another 2006 study conducted by the Oxford University in the UK may protect against age related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

The cell culture study investigated whether green tea antioxidant EGCG could reduce free radical damage and therefore alleviate degeneration of the retina as occurs in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.

To quote from the study:

EGCG was approximately 10 times more potent than trolox (vitamin E analogue) at attenuating [free radical damage].

The conclusion reached from this study is that EGCG is a powerful antioxidant and when injected into the eye with SNP attenuated the detrimental influence of SNP to retinal photoreceptors.

Since oxidative stress has been implicated in retinal diseases like AMD and glaucoma, this study provides "proof of principle" for the idea that daily intake of EGCG may help individuals suffering from retinal diseases where oxidative stress is implicated.

References

Kai On Chu, Kwok Ping Chan, Chi Chiu Wang, Ching Yan Chu, Wai Ying Li, Kwong Wai Choy, Michael Scott Rogers and Chi Pui Pang (2010). Green Tea Catechins and Their Oxidative Protection in the Rat Eye. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2010, 58 (3), pp 1523–1534.

Yang SW, Lee BR, Koh JW (2007). Protective effects of epigallocatechin gallate after UV irradiation in cultured human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Korean J Ophthalmol. 2007 Dec;21(4):232-7.

Gupta SK, Halder N, Srivastava S, Trivedi D, Joshi S, Varma SD (2002). Green tea (Camellia sinensis) protects against selenite-induced oxidative stress in experimental cataractognesis. Ophthalmic Res. 2002 Jul-Aug;34(4):258-63.

Zhang B, Osborne NN (2006). Oxidative-induced retinal degeneration is attenuated by epigallocatechin gallate. Brain Res. 2006 Dec 8;1124(1):176-87.

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