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Exploring the Unique Benefits of Green Tea for Eye Health

Green tea has been revered for centuries for its diverse health advantages. As many of us already know, much of its potency is owed to the wealth of catechins it contains. Catechins are a type of natural phenol and antioxidant that combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, thereby promoting brain and heart health while aiding in cancer prevention as well. 

Yet, amidst the well-established health benefits of green tea, its effects on eye health are frequently underestimated. In fact, a recent study has unequivocally established green tea catechins as therapeutic antioxidants in the treatment of glaucoma, which is recognized as the leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment and affects more than 80 million people around the world. Here, catechins were found to be distributed across various ocular tissues, from the aqueous humor to the vitreous humor, choroid-sclera, retina, lens, and cornea, after absorption by the small intestine. The potential antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects of catechins center around reducing apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and lipid peroxidation in retinal cells.

These findings underscore the significance of exploring green tea’s potential benefits for vision-related disorders. Let’s take a closer look below. 

Green tea helps the prevention and treatment of various eye conditions

Beyond glaucoma, research has revealed further positive impacts of green tea catechins on various aspects of eye health. In another 2023 study, green tea was found to have a therapeutic potential against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In particular, the EGCG in green tea helps downregulate the vascular endothelial growth factor A gene in the retinal pigment epithelium and neural retina, thus addressing AMD at the genetic level. Moreover, EGCG helps with orchestrating a delicate balance between autophagy and apoptosis, acting as a guardian against oxidative stress and ischemia and reperfusion.

Similarly, a 2022 study published in IJMS found that habitual tea consumption, including green tea, lowers the risk of developing cataracts. More specifically, adults who consume two or more cups of tea per day demonstrated an almost 16% reduction in risk. Here, the findings suggest that EGCG’s anti-cataract effects stem from its antioxidant abilities, as all three main types of age-related cataracts (including nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataracts) are associated with oxidative stress. This helps green tea prevent the initiation of cataract formation and combat lens opacity progression.

The open secret lies in green tea's catechins

In other words, catechin’s innate ability to inhibit oxidative stress and inflammatory responses helps prevent the development of ocular inflammation — which unfortunately encompasses various infectious, non-infectious, autoimmune, and oxidative-induced complications. This means that green tea extract can reduce hyperemia, edema, and infiltrating cells in the iris and aqueous humor to prevent uveitis, as well as reduce the severity of dry eye disease. By inducing autophagy, EGCG can additionally protect retinal cells from diabetic retinopathy and apoptosis triggered by high glucose treatment. EGCG even demonstrates potential in treating corneal ulcers by suppressing collagen degradation.

Green tea helps general vision, too 

Amidst these miraculous benefits for addressing existing eye conditions, green tea is also posited to enhance general vision. Indirectly, green tea can help refine eyesight by maintaining healthy blood sugar and promoting better sleep, which is essential for vision health. Additionally, a 2022 study found improvements in the visual motion processing abilities of mice, including heightened temporal sensitivity, amplitude, optimal speed, and gain in optokinetic responses, following green tea administration. This suggests that green tea intake can directly enhance one’s visual ability to detect moving objects, highlighting the beverage’s overall positive influence in protecting visual function.

Exploring the Unique Benefits of Green Tea for Eye Health

Maximize green tea’s benefits with a holistic approach

While research proves green tea’s benefits for eye health, it's crucial to maximize these findings with practical tips. One key aspect is proper eye protection, given the risks associated with conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Use the right tools to protect your eyes

Today, there are various tools that one can equip to protect one's eyes. However, these are only effective when equipped appropriately. For instance, blue light exposure can potentially cause dry eyes and cataracts. However, contrary to popular belief, blue light is not exclusive to electronic screens; it is pervasive in our surroundings and emitted primarily by the sun. Therefore, while regular blue light glasses can mitigate the impact of computer vision syndrome by blocking 30% to 40% of screen-emitted blue light, they may not be as effective against cataracts or macular degeneration. In this context, consider the antireflective treatment Crizal Prevencia for your lenses for dedicated computer use, as this tends to be more effective than regular blue light filters.

For comprehensive eye protection, prioritize the use of sunglasses while outdoors, even on cloudy or rainy days. With UV400 protection and polarized lenses, sunglasses can offer almost 100% full UV protection and reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, roads, or snow. Choosing larger sunglasses with increased surface area is beneficial, so if you're shopping online try sorting catalogs by size for extra-large options like Parasol or Frica from Eyebuydirect. Otherwise, you can complement your shades with a wide-brimmed sun hat, especially if you’d rather opt for slimmer eyewear designs to suit your face shape.  

Don't underestimate the importance of proper rest

Beyond external protection, prioritizing eye recovery and rest is vital. Besides adequate sleep, incorporating nutrition and skincare into your routine can further contribute to overall well-being. For a tasty breakfast, consider incorporating a plant-based matcha smoothie into your diet. This features vitamin A-rich spinach, abundant in carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are compounds known to lower the risk of long-term eye diseases. Consider incorporating a couple of carrots into the smoothie too, as carrots' beta-carotene can convert into vitamin A as well.

Meanwhile, you can create face masks with green tea to boost your eye breaks and promote a spa-like experience. The antioxidants in catechins can aid in collagen production and help repair cell damage in the delicate skin around the eyes, simultaneously reducing inflammation and soothing tired eyes. All you’ll have to do is mix a tablespoon of leaves with 3 tablespoons of yogurt and place the mixture on your face for 20 minutes before rinsing to reap its benefits.

Prepare your green tea properly

To ensure you maximize the benefits of green tea and preserve the delicate catechins, it's crucial to make it properly and choose high-quality options. To brew tasty Japanese green tea, all you’ll have to do is dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of powder into 8 oz of hot water at about 175°F. After 60-120 seconds, you can filter out the leaves and serve hot. If you really want to maximize your leaves, however, consider using a Japanese teapot or a teapot with finer mesh. You can also look into "yuzamashi," which is a technique for water temperature that removes the smell of chloride. Fill the teapot with 70% full of hot water and rotate it slowly, allowing the green tea to open up and soak evenly.

To get started, choose among our green tea collection, from Gokuzyo, whose tea leaves were hand-selected by trained masters, to Issaku Reserve, which is the highest-grade tea available from Arahataen Green Tea Farms. You can also try our tea finder to find the option that best suits your palate. By incorporating green tea into your daily routine and adopting eye-friendly practices, you can harness the power of this fantastic beverage for optimal eye health and overall well-being.

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