Is Poor Sleep Linked to Glaucoma?

The Link Between Poor Sleep and Glaucoma

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that a study conducted in the US released that over 6,700 people over 40 years old revealed a possible connection between having glaucoma and having sleep problems.

The optic nerve is responsible for sending signals from your eye to your brain, and this is the nerve which is severely affected by glaucoma.

The damage that the optic nerve experiences with glaucoma is usually not noticeable to the patient until it is revealed in an eye exam that there is vision loss caused by the disease.

The study which the AAO revealed examined data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The people involved in the study were all glaucoma patients with optic nerve damage and vision loss. The study participants underwent fundus photography exams to view the optic nerve and visual field tests to check where their vision loss areas were exactly.

The participants had to log the following items:

  • Any difficulty falling asleep
  • Any use of sleep medications
  • The amount of time they slept
  • Diagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  • Waking up during their sleep or “sleep disturbances”
  • Any sleepy feelings during the day

The findings from the study below made it clear that there is an association between having glaucoma and having sleep issues:

  • The odds of having missing vision were three times higher in people who got 3 or fewer or 10 or more hours of sleep per night, compared with those who got 7 hours a night
  • People who said they had trouble remembering things because of daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to have visual field loss than those who said they were not sleepy during the day and did not notice memory problems.
  • People who said they had difficulty working on a hobby because they were sleepy during the day were three times more likely to have vision loss than people who reported no problems working on hobbies and no daytime sleepiness.

To read all of the findings and hear some medical opinions about the association between glaucoma and sleep, you can read the original article here.

Interestingly enough, Glaucoma is not the only eye disease or condition that is linked to poor sleep!

Poor sleep is also associated with dry eyes, and sleep apnea can lead to floppy eyelids, which REALLY can dry the eyes out.  If you have dry eyes, you should check out our recent blog about a new serum tears treatment we offer at Slade & Baker.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone should see an ophthalmologist for what we call a ‘baseline medical eye exam’ at the age of 40. Early signs of eye disease (like glaucoma) and vision changes can begin at age 40 and be detectable in an eye exam.

If you feel you have been experiencing poor sleep and/or vision loss, please call us at 713-626-5544 or email us at info@visiontexas.com and one of our eye doctors can take a good look at your eye to make sure your eye is healthy. Remember, early detection of glaucoma and all eye diseases is key!

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Posted in: dry eyes, eye health, Ophthalmology Houston

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