PURPOSE: We examined the association of habitual caffeine intake with intraocular pressure (IOP) and glaucoma and whether genetic predisposition to higher IOP modified these associations. We also assessed whether genetic predisposition to higher coffee consumption was related to IOP. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study in the UK Biobank. PARTICIPANTS: We included 121 374 participants (baseline ages, 39-73 years) with data on coffee and tea intake (collected 2006-2010) and corneal-compensated IOP measurements in 2009. In a subset of 77 906 participants with up to 5 web-based 24-hour-recall food frequency questionnaires (2009-2012), we evaluated total caffeine intake. We also assessed the same relationships with glaucoma (9286 cases and 189 763 controls). METHODS: We evaluated multivariable-adjusted associations with IOP using linear regression and with glaucoma using logistic regression. For both outcomes, we examined gene-diet interactions using a polygenic risk score (PRS) that combined the effects of 111 genetic variants associated with IOP. We also performed Mendelian randomization using 8 genetic variants associated with coffee intake to assess potential causal effects of coffee consumption on IOP. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Intraocular pressure and glaucoma. RESULTS: Mendelian randomization analysis did not support a causal effect of coffee drinking on IOP (P > 0.1). Greater caffeine intake was associated weakly with lower IOP: the highest (≥232 mg/day) versus lowest (<87 mg/day) caffeine consumption was associated with a 0.10-mmHg lower IOP (P = 0.01). However, the IOP PRS modified this association: among those in the highest IOP PRS quartile, consuming > 480 mg/day versus < 80 mg/day was associated with a 0.35-mmHg higher IOP (P = 0.01). The relationship between caffeine intake and glaucoma was null (P ≥ 0.1). However, the IOP PRS also modified this relationship: compared with those in the lowest IOP PRS quartile consuming no caffeine, those in the highest IOP PRS quartile consuming ≥ 321 mg/day showed a 3.90-fold higher glaucoma prevalence (P = 0.0003). CONCLUSIONS: Habitual caffeine consumption was associated weakly with lower IOP, and the association between caffeine consumption and glaucoma was null. However, among participants with the strongest genetic predisposition to elevated IOP, greater caffeine consumption was associated with higher IOP and higher glaucoma prevalence.
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: email@example.com.