In recent news, a study conducted by the Taipei Medical University has definitively linked having sleep apnea with a high risk of developing blindness in the form of glaucoma (an eye disease which results in loss of vision or blindness). For the first time ever, researchers were able to link the two conditions in people aged 40 and over.
After studying more than 1000 patients, the nationwide study concluded that having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was a strong risk factor for developing “open-angle” glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is typically slower in developing, meaning it takes years before symptoms may appear. As a result, people who are at risk of potentially losing vision or going blind entirely may not realize until the later stages of the disease.
The study’s researchers are urging for all sleep apnea specialist and clinicians to talk to their patients about glaucoma and the risks associated with the disease. The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends that everyone over the age of 40 get an eye exam from an ophthalmologist to reduce the chances of developing glaucoma later in life.
A Press Release on the study from the American Academy of Ophthalmology can be found here.