Can sleep apnea cause glaucoma?
Sleep apnea has been linked to a number of health problems including sudden cardiac death, obesity and even asthma. Now, a new study says it may be linked to glaucoma, too.
Taiwanese researchers found that those who have sleep apnea are more likely to develop the eye disease than people who don’t have the sleep disorder. The results were recently published in the journal Ophthalmology.
Researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 1,000 sleep apnea patients and compared them to nearly 6,000 other patient records as a control group. They found the risk of developing glaucoma was 1.6 percent higher among those with sleep apnea.
Doctors say it’s best to be checked for glaucoma especially if you have sleep apnea.
Dr. Harit K. Bhatt, an ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., says discovering any vision problems sooner than later is essential to keeping your eye sight strong.
“It’s important for everyone over 40 years of age to have a comprehensive eye exam that includes dilation,” he says. “Dilation of the eye is done using eye drops and allows proper examination of the retina.”
The U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI) defines glaucoma as a disease that damages the optic nerve. It can lead to vision loss or blindness.
According to the NEI, glaucoma can develop in either one or both eyes.
The most common form of this eye disease is primary open-angled glaucoma that affects more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. People may not have any symptoms of this type of this disease until the glaucoma is advanced.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 12 million Americans suffer from this common sleep disorder that can cause serious complications if left untreated.
Study leaders hope the results will urge physicians to alert their sleep apnea patients about the risks of glaucoma.
“We hope that this study encourages clinicians to alert obstructive sleep apnea patients of the associations between obstructive sleep apnea and open-angle glaucoma as a means of raising the issue and encouraging treatment of those who need it,” researchers said in a news release.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.
Please read this!