Monday, March 10, 2014

Sleep Apnea Increases Glaucoma Risk

You might be surprised to learn that sleep apnea can increase your risk of developing glaucoma and sleep apnea is actually a risk factor for glaucoma! What do sleep apnea and your risk of developing glaucoma have in common? Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that blocks breathing during sleep for more than 100 million people worldwide. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked, causing breathing to stop for up to two minutes. Symptoms include loud snoring and persistent daytime sleepiness. Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million worldwide.  If untreated, glaucoma reduces peripheral vision and eventually may cause blindness by damaging the Optic Nerve.

Researchers, reporting in the journal Ophthalmology, the official publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that obstructive sleep apnea is not simply a marker for poor health, but is actually an independent risk factor for open-angle glaucoma. The relationship between the two conditions is significant, given the large numbers of people worldwide who suffer from them. Based on this finding, we want to alert obstructive sleep apnea patients of the associations between obstructive sleep apnea and open-angle glaucoma to raise the issue and encouraging treatment of those who need it.

If you or someone you know has a question about sleep apnea and your risk of glaucoma, please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.