Poor Sleep Patterns Linked to Increased Glaucoma Risk

For the last few decades, there has been increased interest in understanding the effects of sleep (or lack of!) on our overall health. A recent study sought to understand the relationship between sleeping patterns and eye health. According to an article from Silive.com, this study found that poor sleep habits increase the risk of developing eye diseases such as glaucoma. 

Within this study, which was published in BMJ Open, the researchers sourced data from 409,053 individuals through the UK Biobank. Data was sourced from individuals between 40-69 years old. The researchers asked participants to self-report sleep data. Findings show that:

  • Sleeping too much or too little can increase the risk of developing glaucoma or other conditions. The recommended amount of sleep is between 7-9 hours.
  • Daytime sleepiness and snoring were both linked to an 11% higher risk of developing eye diseases. Alternately, insomnia was associated with a 13% higher risk of developing eye diseases. 
  • Snoring could potentially cause optic nerve damage, while sleep positions which increase ocular pressure could catalyze how eye diseases manifest or develop. 

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma refers to a group of conditions characterized by progressive (worsening) optic nerve damage. Normally, the optic nerve helps transmit images from the eye to the brain. When the optic nerve is damaged, it impedes this transmission, causing vision loss. Glaucoma is often linked to an increase in ocular pressure. This may occur, for example, from a buildup of fluid. There are various subtypes of glaucoma, including congenital glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma, irido corneal endothelial syndrome (ICE), and pseudoexfoliation syndrome. 

Early detection and treatment are crucial to maintaining vision. Symptoms can include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Eye pain and redness 
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Rainbow-colored “halos” appearing around lights
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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