Coffee might prevent exercise-induced eye fatigue

Coffee might prevent exercise-induced eye fatigue

It's not only the legs that feel the effects of cycling; a new study suggests it can put a strain on the eyes, too. But don't get off your bike just yet. The study also found that drinking coffee might prevent such an effect,


Study leader Dr. Nicholas Gant, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.


In their study, the researchers explain that vigorous exercise can lower the central nervous system's ability to drive muscle function, resulting in what is known as central fatigue.


Prolonged cycling, for example, can trigger central fatigue, which normally presents through tiring of the legs.


But while it is well known that central fatigue affects limb movement, Dr. Gant and colleagues note that it is unclear whether it impacts other motor systems, such as those involved in eye movement.


To find out, the team enrolled 11 well-trained cyclists, who cycled using exercise bikes for 3 hours.


Some of the participants consumed caffeine during their 3-hour cycling session - at a dose equivalent to two cups of coffee - while the remaining subjects consumed a decaffeinated placebo solution.


The researchers explain that caffeine can indirectly boost the activity of certain neurotransmitters - chemicals that relay signals between brains cells - and note that previous studies have suggested that impairments in neurotransmitter activity might be responsible for central fatigue.


Once participants had finished cycling, the researchers tested their eye movement using a head-fixed eye-tracking system.