Poor Sleep Could Increase Your Glaucoma Risk



New research suggests low sleep quality could make you more susceptible to glaucoma and irreversible vision loss.

January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the United States. Characterized by loss of light-sensitive cells and damage to the optic nerve, glaucoma affects more than three million Americans. By 2030, the National Eye Institute expects to reach 4.2 million.

Glaucoma often has no warning signs in the early stages, and a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to detect glaucoma. Because it develops without notice, glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight.” If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible sight loss.

Sleep Quality and Glaucoma

Snoring, daytime sleepiness or sleeping too much or too little can increase the risk for glaucoma, according to a study by UK Biobank. The research team analyzed data from 409,053 participants between the ages of 40 and 69 who provided information about their sleep.

All three of these factors influenced glaucoma risk (Medical Xpress):

  • Those who slept too long (more than nine hours) or too short (less than seven hours) had an 8 percent increased risk for glaucoma.
  • Snorers had a 12 percent increased risk.
  • Those with frequent daytime sleepiness had a 20 percent increased risk for glaucoma.

Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery With Cataract Surgery

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, early treatment can prevent permanent optic nerve damage and protect your vision. Many innovative procedures can treat glaucoma as well as cataracts, like Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). Some MIGS procedures are stand-alone, but other MIGS operations can be performed in conjunction with cataract surgery so both conditions are treated at once. Another benefit of MIGS is that it targets eye tissues that are not utilized by traditional surgeries, allowing for a more comprehensive array of treatment options.

Make an Appointment for an Eye Exam

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are even more at risk. Everyone over 60 is more likely to develop glaucoma, so staying current with your eye exams is essential. A yearly comprehensive eye exam with dilation can help prevent eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. If you have a developing condition, you can receive treatment in the early stages and prevent vision loss.

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