Researchers in China say studies in rats indicate substances in green tea may protect against eye diseases such as glaucoma. Scientists led by Chi Pui Pang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Eye Hospital confirmed green tea substances — known for antioxidant and disease-fighting properties — were absorbed in the lens, retina and other eye tissue.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggested until now it was not known if green tea substances actually passed from the gastrointestinal tract into eye tissue. The researchers analyzed the eye tissue of laboratory rats that drank green tea and found several “catechins” in green tea that contain antioxidants — including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin — were absorbed by the eye in significant amounts. The researchers said green tea catechins reduced harmful oxidative stress in the eye for up to 20 hours.
“Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress,” the study researchers said in a statement. Reported in April, 2010 ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Editor’s Note: Catechins such as those found in green tea are among a number of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, thought to help protect the delicate tissues of the eye from glaucoma and other eye ailments.