Taiwanese researchers have found that individuals with apnea are much more likely to develop glaucoma than those who do not have this condition. The results of the study, which was the first to evaluate the risk of glaucoma among people with sleep disorders, will appear in August in the journal of the Academy of Ophthalmologists of the United States.
Scientists (Taipei MedicalUniversity) conducted a retrospective study using a national population database to study the prevalence and risk of the most common form of glaucoma among patients with the most common form of apnea.
They examined medical records of 1,012 patients over 40 years old from all over Taiwan who were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea from 2001 to 2004, then the results were compared with a control group of 6,072 patients. It was determined that the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma within five years after the onset of obstructive apnea was 1.67 times higher among individuals with apnea compared with the control group.
Earlier studies have shown an increased prevalence of glaucoma, which is recognized as the second leading cause of vision loss globally; the latest work of scientists has determined that obstructive apnea is not only a marker of health problems in general, but also an independent risk factor in relation to the open-angle form of glaucoma. The relationship between the two states is recognized as essential.
Apnea is a chronic condition in which breathing stops during sleep for a while, it affects more than one hundred million people around the world. With obstructive apnea, airways are blocked, which leads to respiratory arrest up to two minutes. Symptoms include loud snoring and constant daytime sleepiness.
Glaucoma affects approximately 60 million people around the world, if untreated, it lowers peripheral vision and can ultimately lead to loss of vision through damage to the optic nerve.