Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sleep Problems & Glaucoma


A study of more than 6,700 people in the United States over age 40 who were previously diagnosed with glaucoma based on their optic nerve damage and visual field loss, responded to a survey about their sleep that revealed possible connections between glaucoma and sleep problems. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Damage to this nerve-which is responsible for sending signals from the eye to the brain so you can see-often goes unnoticed until an eye exam reveals the nerve damage and related vision loss caused by glaucoma.

Patients were asked and responded to questions about a) amount of time slept, b) difficulties falling asleep, c) sleep disturbances specifically waking up during sleep, d) having diagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, e) use of sleep medication and f) problems with sleepiness during the day. The results revealed the following interesting information:

  • People who slept for 10 or more hours a night were three times more likely to have glaucoma-related optic nerve damage than those who slept 7 hours a night.
  • People who fell asleep in 9 minutes or less, or those who needed 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, were twice as likely to have glaucoma than those who took 10-29 minutes to fall asleep.
  • The odds of having missing vision were three times higher among 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.

While it is unclear whether the sleep problems are a result of some glaucoma related phenomenon or perhaps whether these sleep problems might be early risk factors for glaucoma, it is important to mention to your eye doctor whether you experience sleep problems. Schedule an eye health exam beginning at age 40 at D’Ambrosio Eye Care at 800-325-3937, visit D’Ambrosio Eye Care, or so that we can help.

D'Ambrosio Eye Care provides eye care for patients throughout greater Boston, central and western Massachusetts with office locations at 479 Old Union Turnpike, Lancaster, Massachusetts 01523, 865 Merriam Avenue, Suite 119, Leominster, Massachusetts 01453, 100 Powder Mill Road, Acton, Massachusetts 01720, 413 Main Street, Athol, Massachusetts 01331, 74 Main Street, Gardner, Massachusetts 01440 and 255 Park Avenue, Suite 606, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609.