Studies show that glaucoma can be a huge risk for those suffering from sleep apnea.
Glaucoma is an eye disease and group of conditions which result in damage to the optic nerve – this may cause loss of vision. This damage is caused by an abnormally high pressure inside of the eyeball. – It’s actually one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States – and it can happen in only 5 short years! This can happen so gradually that it can actually go unnoticed until the later stages.
It’s not yet proven, however there seems to be a connection between sleep apnea – which causes pauses in breathing during the night, disrupting sleep – and this terrible eye condition. According to glaucoma specialist, Anderw Iwach, M.D, the loss of oxygen experienced during sleep apnea can trigger damage to the optic nerve. This causes an abnormal level of gas in the blood. Both of these problems can lead to glaucoma.
Although most optometrists and opthamologists conduct for screenings beginning at age 40 – you may still want to get it checked out even earlier, especially if you need thick glasses or have a history of eye disease in your family. Early detection provides the best chances for recovery, and sleep apnea can be avoided by quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising.