A new study has suggested that a hot tea can actually help when it comes to preventing the harmful eye disease known as glaucoma.
The survey also included eye tests for glaucoma.
People who drink at least one cup of tea a day are 74 per cent less likely to develop glaucoma, U.S. researchers have found.
They also analysed the participants' responses to a questionnaire about how often they had drunk coffee, hot tea, soft drinks or iced tea in the past year, and whether those drinks were caffeinated or decaffeinated.
For coffee, -caffeinated and decaffeinated-decaffeinated tea, iced tea and other soft drinks, no such associations were found. Glaucoma is the first and foremost reason for most of the blindness in the world.
However, the researchers noted that this was an observational study, and therefore, no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.
A similar relationship was not seen with tea without caffeine or iced tea, as well as with coffee, with or without caffeine.
The study also had other limitations, such as the small number of participants with glaucoma and a lack of detailed information about the timeline of diagnosis.
"Participants who consumed hot tea daily were less likely to have glaucoma than those who did not consume hot tea", the paper read.
Now they advised that "Tea drinkers should realise that the results are preliminary and drinking tea may not prevent glaucoma", said Anne Coleman, co-author of the research from the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Absolutely nothing is proven or even strongly evidenced", Melanie Hingorani from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists explained to The Guardian. These people are less probably to have glaucoma. All those over the age of 40 should have an eye-check every one to two years, she said, and more regularly for those at risk, such as those with diabetes or a family history of glaucoma. But when it came to hot tea, things were quite different.
"Further research is needed to establish the importance of these findings and whether hot tea consumption may play a role in the prevention of glaucoma", the team concludes.
Of course, this is just a correlation and no causation has been properly explored, but the fact that the same results didn't carry over to decaf tea seems to suggest that certain plant chemicals - such as flavonoids and other antioxidants found in tea - provide a protective effect to the eyes.