08/16/2013 08:19 am ET

Sleep Apnea Linked With Increased Glaucoma Risk


Sleep apnea -- a sleep disorder where a person stops breathing for periods during sleep because of a blocked airway -- might do more than raise your risk of diabetes, heart problems, depression and drowsy driving. A new study suggests it could also put you at a higher risk for one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.

Researchers from Taipei Medical University found that people with obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing glaucoma compared with people without the sleep disorder.

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, was conducted on 1,012 people ages 40 and older in Taiwan who were diagnosed with sleep apnea sometime between 2001 and 2004, as well as 6,072 people without sleep apnea.

Researchers found that people with sleep apnea had a 1.67 times higher risk of developing glaucoma in the five years after their initial sleep apnea diagnosis.

Glaucoma, which is actually comprised of several eye conditions that damage the optic nerve in the eye, is typically caused by high pressure within the eye, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms are usually slow-progressing, with vision loss being one of the only signs.

For more potential risks associated with sleep apnea, click through the slideshow:



Health Concerns Linked With Sleep Apnea