Researchers at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, have discovered that people with sleep apnea have a greater risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting nearly 60 million people. Without treatment, glaucoma reduces peripheral vision and leads to full blindness by damaging the optic nerve. The disease is painless and vision loss is gradual. Only half of the people with glaucoma are aware they have the condition.
The study reviewed health insurance records for 1,012 patients aged 40 and older throughout Taiwan who had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) between 2001 and 2004, comparing them to matched-cohort control patients. The results revealed that the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma within 5 years of an OSA diagnosis was 1.67 times greater than in those who had the sleep disorder, compared to the control patients.
Sleep apnea should not be taken lightly. If you suspect you have the condition or simply have trouble sleeping, always consult a physician. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all adults get a baseline eye exam, by age 40, early signs of disease and vision changes may began to occur.