Aqueous humor fills the front section of your eye, and when your eye doctor measures your eye pressure she is measuring the balance of fluids in your eye. Brief periods of a pressure increase will not cause damage, but long-term high pressures may damage your eye. Caffeine may cause pressures to spike, and if you have a risk for glaucoma, you should talk with your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your eyes.
High eye pressure over a long period of time may slowly damage your eye. This occurs as a result of the pressure reducing the flow of blood through the blood vessels at the back of your eye, many of which lead to the optic nerve. Your optic nerve plays a central role in vision by transmitting visual information to your brain. If high pressures reduce the amount of blood to your optic nerve, the blood your nerve needs for nourishment and function, you may have optic nerve damage. You may not notice early changes in your optic nerve, but as damage progresses, you will gradually lose your side vision. Extensive damage may result in blindness.
Small amounts of caffeine will not cause your pressure to increase or damage your optic nerve. If you have a high caffeine intake over a short period of time, however, this could cause your pressure to spike. This increased eye pressure may last from 1 to 3 hours, explains the Glaucoma Research Foundation. A high pressure for this duration will not cause damage to your optic nerve. If you have concerns that you consume too much caffeine, you should talk with your doctor to determine an appropriate amount of caffeine to have each day.
Many foods and beverages contain caffeine. One of the most commonly consumed caffeinated beverages is coffee, but you may also drink caffeinated tea, sodas or energy drinks. Chocolate also contains a significant amount of caffeine. Certain types of over-the-counter medications contain caffeine, and these include some types of pain relievers, cold medications and appetite suppressants, explains Medline Plus.
If you have risk factors for glaucoma, your doctor may recommend that you avoid caffeine or set limits to the amount of caffeine you consume on a daily basis. Spikes of high eye pressure may not damage your eyes, but you should have a routine eye examination to ensure the health of your eye.