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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 May;49(5):1924-31. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-1425. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Caffeine consumption and the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma: a prospective cohort study.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. nhjhk@channing.harvard.edu



To investigate whether caffeine, which transiently increases intraocular pressure (IOP) is associated with the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).


A total of 79,120 women from 1980 to 2004 and 42,052 men from 1986 to 2004, who were 40+ years of age, did not have POAG, and reported undergoing eye examinations, were observed. Information on caffeine consumption, potential confounders, and POAG diagnoses were repeatedly updated in validated follow-up questionnaires. One thousand eleven incident POAG cases were confirmed with medical record review. Cohort-specific and pooled analyses across cohorts were conducted to calculate multivariate rate ratios (RRs).


Compared with daily intake of less than 150 mg, the pooled multivariate RRs were 1.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89-1.25) for consumption of 150 to 299 mg/d, 1.19 (95% CI, 0.99-1.43) for 300 to 449 mg/d, 1.13 (95% CI, 0.89-1.43) for 450 to 559 mg/d, and 1.17 (95% CI, 0.90-1.53) for 600+ mg/d (P for trend = 0.11). However, for consumption of five or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily, the RR was 1.61 (95% CI, 1.00-2.59; P for trend = 0.02); tea or caffeinated cola intake were not associated with risk. Greater caffeine intake was more adversely associated with POAG among those reporting a family history of glaucoma, particularly in relation to POAG with elevated IOP (P for trend = 0.0009; P interaction = 0.04).


Overall caffeine intake was not associated with increased risk of POAG. However, in secondary analyses, caffeine appeared to elevate risk of high-tension POAG among those with a family history of glaucoma. This result may be due to chance, but warrants further study.

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