Some mornings it might feel as if you can’t even see straight until you’ve downed a cup of coffee. Now, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that a daily cup of joe might help save your eyes as you grow older.
Coffee contains a powerful antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CLA), which prevents retinal degeneration in mice, according to researchers at Cornell University.
The retina is a thin layer of tissue located on the inner back wall of the eye. It’s responsible for receiving and organizing visual information, and because it needs plenty of oxygen to function properly, it’s also prone to oxidative stress. A lack of oxygen—in conjunction with the production of free radicals—can damage the tissue and lead to loss of vision.
In the study, rodents who had been given CLA and then treated with nitric oxide, which creates oxidative stress and free radicals, showed no signs of retinal damage.
While scientists still need to prove that coffee’s CLA works the same way in humans, we’ll continue to enjoy our morning jolt of java.