As per the available data, coffee does not cause dry eyes. The stimulant role of coffee is very well known, but discussing its impact on eye health is rare.
With the increase in smartphone usage, digital eye strain has become a medical challenge, and now we see everyone caring more for their eyes.
Coffee is a popular beverage that is a must-have beverage for most adults across the globe. It fuels you for a hectic day ahead by enhancing energy levels and alertness.
There is significant research claiming the therapeutic effects of coffee. Several adults take it to improve heart health, while young students believe it helps them concentrate better.
So, today we discuss the impact of coffee consumption on eye health. Read on to learn more!
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Before establishing the link between coffee intake and eye health, it is crucial to know what dry eye syndrome is.
It is an ocular condition characterized by inadequate production of lubricant in the eyes, i.e., tears.
Most people with dry eyes complain of a gritty and scratchy feeling in the eye (especially in the morning).
Eyes are easily irritated and cause burning. Blurred vision can also accompany stinging and burning sensations.
Eye disorders (blepharitis, entropion), auto-immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome), and digital eye strain can contribute to dry eyes.
Diuretics, sleeping pills, and heart medications can also induce dry eyes.
Can Caffeine Induce Dry Eye Syndrome?
Despite the prevalence of myths regarding coffee and dry eye syndrome, there is limited research on the topic.
A total of 9752 Korean adults took part in a study to evaluate the effects of coffee consumption and dry eye syndrome.
Participants were divided into three groups, i.e., 1 cup, 2 cups, and 3 cups/or more. The study investigated the effects of coffee consumption for two years.
The prevalence of dry eye syndrome was highest for the 1-cup group (9.2%), which decreased to 6.3% for greater coffee consumption.
Thus, the study concludes that the frequency of coffee consumption had no appreciable link with the risk of dry eye syndrome.
A randomized controlled trial even found coffee potent in managing dry eye symptoms. The study carried out in 2014 comprised 41 healthy volunteers.
The participants were given 5 mg/kg of caffeine (dissolved in water), i.e., coffee, and assessed for tear production.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that coffee stimulated tear secretion. Thus, the beverage can be beneficial for those with dry eyes.
According to a 2023 study, dietary caffeine intake is not a risk factor for dry eye disease (DED) in the general population.
The large population-based cohort study investigated the effects of caffeine intake on DED occurrence. The mean caffeine intake of the 85,302 participants was calculated to be 285 mg/d.
The study concludes that caffeinated beverages like coffee did not cause or aggravate symptoms of dry eye disease.
Coffee and Hydration
Your eyes and body need ample water to function optimally and be problem-free. Coffee is a source of fluids for the body.
Despite the high quantity of caffeine, coffee does not significantly affect the body’s hydration status.
Some people speculate about the hydration role of coffee because caffeine is a natural diuretic that helps you excrete excess fluids.
However, dialysis studies reveal that coffee drinkers have more body fluid volumes.
Another study shows that moderate caffeine consumption provides hydration similar to water. So, the diuretic nature of caffeine does not interfere with the body’s overall hydration.
Hydration and Dry Eye Syndrome
The body’s hydration status seems to be linked with eye dryness. Research suggests that whole-body hydration plays an essential role in dry eyes.
Systemic hydration affects ocular pathologies, with dehydration increasing the risk of diseases such as dry eye syndrome, cataracts, etc.
However, drinking water (or coffee) does not help with dry eye symptoms.
Coffee and Eye Health
When consumed moderately, coffee can be good for your eye health. Optimal hydration helps improve generalized dryness in the body.
Some people wake up with dry eyes and believe coffee to be the root cause. Many of us completely ignore the effects of digital eye strain with continuous smartphone usage and blame morning coffee for dry eyes.
However, a powerful antioxidant in coffee called chlorogenic acid can benefit your vision by protecting your eyes from age-related vision deterioration and degeneration.
How to Reduce Dry Eye Symptoms?
According to the data, there is no evidence of coffee causing dry eye syndrome. A couple of studies show that the beverage could help improve tear secretion.
Therefore, it tends to alleviate symptoms of DED (Dry Eye Disease).
So, if you feel eye dryness and are planning to quit coffee, we recommend you don’t!
Instead, you can try these simple yet effective natural tips to improve dry eye symptoms:
- Frequently wash your eyelids
- Apply warm compression to the eye area to promote tear production
- Add polyunsaturated fats (omega-3) to the diet
- Use coconut oil
- Wear sunglasses to protect against UV radiation and sunlight
Side Effects of Coffee Consumption
Up to 400 mg of caffeine daily is the safe bracket for most adults. However, excess coffee intake can cause some side effects. Drinking more than four coffee cups a day can lead to the following complications:
- Sleeplessness (insomnia)
- Nervousness and tremors
- Frequent (and often uncontrolled) urination
- Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
Coffee is a widely consumed beverage liked by millions across the globe. It provides ample quantities of caffeine that imparts stimulant effects.
Coffee helps improve the body’s hydration status despite the diuretic effects of caffeine. Individuals with dry eyes tend to give up coffee to alleviate symptoms, but the truth is the opposite.
According to authentic studies, coffee intake does not increase the risk of dry eye disease. It stimulates tear production in the eyes.
Modern research also rules out coffee consumption as a risk factor for dry eyes.