Sleep apnea, glaucoma link more prevalent than thought

August 14, 2013

Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to develop glaucoma compared with those without the sleep condition, according to a new study.

San Francisco-Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to develop glaucoma compared with those without the sleep condition, according to a new study.

Conducted by researchers at Taipei Medical University (TMU), the study found that the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma within 5 years of an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis was 1.67 times higher in those who had sleep apnea compared with the control subjects.

The study, “Obstructive sleep apnea and increased risk of glaucoma,” used a nationwide, population-based dataset to examine the prevalence and risk of the most common form of glaucoma among patients with the most common form of sleep apnea.

The researchers reviewed National Health Insurance medical records for 1,012 patients aged 40 or more years throughout Taiwan whose obstructive sleep apnea was diagnosed between 2001 and 2004. Those records were then compared with 6,072 matched-cohort control patients.

While previous studies demonstrated an increased prevalence of glaucoma, the TMU study determined that obstructive sleep apnea is not just a marker for poor health, but is actually an independent risk factor for open-angle 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,” said the authors of the study, which was led by Herng-Ching Lin, PhD, of the College of Medical Science and Technology at TMU.

 

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