Green tea can help control cataract, says a research paper by IIT Kharagpur which has been published in the Royal Society of Chemistry Journal, Molecular BioSystems.
The paper by Professor Swagata Dasgupta and her research team, with research scholar Susmitnarayan Chaudhury as the lead author, says green tea contains an antioxidant compound which can prevent the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV). Exposure to UV radiation is one of the primary causes of cataract formation in adults. It destabilises proteins and accelerates the onset of cataracts. ECGC, a chemical compound found in green tea, is known to effectively scavenge free radicals.
“It is also able to prevent UV-induced oxidation of one of the eye lens proteins,Gamma-crystallin B, that could most likely thwart further deterioration of the cataractous human eye due to UV irradiation. Research also shows that EGCG can restore the damage to the protein to some extent. EGCG also reduces the extent of exposure of the hydrophobic pockets of the eye protein Gamma-crystallin B which occurs under UV exposure.This result has the potential for the EGCG compound of green tea to be utilised in the applications of methods/protocols being developed for the prevention of age-related cataracts in the normal lens,” says Dasgupta.
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants but tea processing reduces its strength but does not destroy it. In green tea this polyphenol antioxidant is preserved to a greater extent due to less complication in tea processing thus making it effective for preventing cataracts, adds Dasgupta.
Age-related cataract is a protein misfolding disease that occurs due to the condensation of eye lens proteins that precipitate or aggregate in the eye lens, thereby damaging the transparency of the eye lens.
Human cataracts affect a large number of the population over 40 years of age and are a leading cause of blindness worldwide. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, the number of cataract surgeries will increase to 20 to 25 million. Currently, there is no treatment for cataract except for surgical removal of the condensed protein-containing eye lens in advanced stages of the cataract, Dasgupta explains.