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Glaucoma Causes
And EGCG Research

Glaucoma causes blindness

It affects about three million people in the United States and is the second leading cause of blindness.

Some estimate that up to 60 million Americans may be at risk of acquiring glaucoma.

Worldwide, it affects about 14 million people.

Pressure in the eye

High fluid pressure builds up inside the eye (intraocular pressure) and cannot drain off normally.

The fluid pressure can damage both the retina and optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss.

While uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, or trauma may precipitate glaucoma, medical science has not yet confirmed the cause of the most common form of glaucoma.

However, researchers are studying ways that may reduce either intraocular pressure, or indirect damage to the retina and optic nerve such as light-induced oxidative stress causing nerve cell death.

EGCG from green tea and healthy eyes

EGCG, an antioxidant catechin polyphenol found abundantly in green tea, is being studied to learn if it may influence and reduce the risk of some glaucoma causes:

  • One preliminary study showed that EGCG reduced damage to photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye from oxidative stress (Zhang B, Oxidative-induced retinal degeneration is attenuated by epigallocatechin gallate, Brain Research, December 2006).

  • In an animal study, researchers put EGCG in the drinking water for three days before and five days after applying ischemia to raise intraocular pressure in the eye.

    The group drinking EGCG showed statistically reduced damage as shown in a variety of parameters, especially where capsases were active.

    A follow-up study confirmed that bright white light, which causes cell death independently of capsases, could also be blunted by EGCG (Zhang B, Orally administered epigallocatechin gallate attenuates retinal neuronal death in vivo and light-induced apoptosis in vitro, Brain Research, March 2008).

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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.

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