Homemade Green Tea and Eye Health

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During my short tenure in the military, I had a routine eye check-up.  After a very thorough exam, the eye specialist informed me that my eye pressure was higher than normal. She went on to explain that elevated eye pressure (anything above 21 mm Hg) is associated with ocular hypertension and if left untreated, it can lead to glaucoma and eventually vision loss.

The doctor insisted on additional tests. Later on, I came to understand that she conducted a perimetry test to get a map of my complete field of vision. This would help determine the prevalence of glaucoma. As she instructed, I looked straight ahead in the eye machine and told her when I saw squiggly lines moving in my peripheral vision. The test results didn’t indicate glaucoma or any other concern for that matter. So, I didn’t worry about this incident and went on with my life.

I was well into living the civilian life before I considered another eye exam. My routine exam, about six years after my original eye exam, resulted in the same results – elevated eye pressure. The doctor performed additional tests but nothing of major concern appeared. Still, I wondered what could be the cause. Although my eye care doctor didn’t seem concerned, I wanted to keep my eye on this matter (no pun intended) to ensure it didn’t evolve into something detrimental for my vision.

Admittedly, I skipped a couple of years between checking my eyesight again. Still, I expected my routine eye exam in 2005 to be consistent with my earlier exam results – elevated eye pressure with the potential for glaucoma. This time the results were different. To my surprise, the eye specialist didn’t mention anything about unusual eye pressure.

To make sure he examined me appropriately, I asked him to check again. I explained to him that in my past few eye exams I had high eye pressure. He sat and listened to me patiently and stated there was no evidence of this during the examination.

Looking back over this 20-year time span, I wondered what had caused this change in my vision. As I looked back, I believe the reduction in my elevated eye pressure had a lot to do with my drastic change in diet. Like many others, I made plans for bringing in the new millennium, the year 2000, in an unprecedented way – by cutting out my daily consumption of junk food including soda pop.

I replaced my daily pop with green tea. Initially, I purchased teas from the discount store, marveling at my ability to purchase 100 tea bags for $2.99 – what a deal! Eventually, I wanted to upgrade the taste quality using fresh and natural ingredients. So, I bought a tea ball and used loose green tea leaves from specialty stores and tea shops.

My continued tea research led me to experiment with making my own green teas using leaves from my fruit trees in my backyard. I explored various combinations of tree leaves like lemon, grapefruit, pomegranate, apple, avocado and grape vines to name a few. I mixed these with herbs like oregano, thyme, mint, and bay leaf depending on what was in season.

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When I started sharing my teas with others for feedback, some people were a little surprised that I make my own green tea. My original thought was if I can eat the fruits and vegetable then I should be able to use the leaves for tea. Not to brag but I get rave reviews on the deliciousness of my teas and better yet, I know about the freshness of the leaves because I know exactly where the ingredients come from.

So how did green tea improve my eyesight you asked? Researchers say the compounds responsible for many of the health benefits of green tea are capable of penetrating the tissues of the eyes. The high concentration of a disease- fighting antioxidants called catechins helps protect the delicate tissues of the eyes from glaucoma and other eye diseases.

I firmly believe that drinking green tea is the reason why my eye pressure decreased to normal levels (1 – 20 mm Hg) without medical intervention. Today, my only drinks are homemade green teas and filtered water. I drink 40 to 60 ounces of green tea a day.

Well, it’s 2017 and how is my eyesight? Very good I say, but don’t believe me, check my eye exams.

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