Ward off eye disease with green tea

A new study performed by Hong Kong researchers finds that green tea may very well protect you against eye diseases like glaucoma. It seems that the antioxidants found in green tea known as catechins show up as components of the eye tissue structure of laboratory rats after they drink the brew.

Collaborative Effort 

The scientists who performed this important collaborative research hail from Kowloon’s Hong Kong Eye Hospital and from Prince of Wales Hospital located in Shatin, in the New Territories of Hong Kong. The findings of this study have been published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication of the American Chemical Society.

The catechins found in green tea belong to a larger family of antioxidants including vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Catechins are, by now, renowned for their ability to fight off disease. Still, until the Hong Kong study, no one quite knew if the catechins in green tea could migrate from the digestive tract to eye tissue.

Tea Extract To that end, Hong Kong Eye Hospital’s Dr. Chi Pui Pang along with his colleagues did eye examinations on autopsied rats that had received green tea extract. The researchers examined the lens, cornea, retina, aqueous and vitreous humors and found that these different eye structures had all absorbed significant levels of the various catechins. The retina was found to absorb the highest amounts of gallocatechin while the aqueous humor took in the most epigallocatechin of all the eye structures.

In addition to these important findings, the researchers discovered that the catechins achieved maximum concentrations anywhere from 0.5-12.2 hours after ingestion. Perhaps even more significant is the finding that the effects of these catechins in reducing eye stress due to oxidation lasted up to 20 hours after ingesting the tea extract.