Study Shows Link Between Poor Sleep and Glaucoma


A recent cross-sectional study including over 6,700 subjects investigated the relationship between glaucoma and sleep. Participants responded to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, responding to questions about sleep duration, sleep latency, sleep disorders, sleep disturbances, sleep medication use, and daytime dysfunction due to sleepiness.(1)

The study results showed a connection between glaucoma and long sleep duration. Glaucoma was three times more prevalent in participants who slept 10 or more hours per night than in participants who slept seven hours per night.(2) Also, people with glaucoma were more likely to fall asleep in nine minutes or less, or take much longer, over 30 minutes.(2)

The quality of sleep, and whether one feels energetic during the day, seems to play a role as well. “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.”(3). Another connection was seen between obstructive sleep apnea and glaucoma, showing that people who suffer from this condition may be as much as 10 times more likely to develop glaucoma, although the reason has not been established.(2)

Researchers are now able to track intraocular pressure with a special contact lens. (High intraocular pressure is a major risk factor for glaucoma). This ability to observe pressure, even while a patient is asleep, may provide important information about the connection between sleep apnea and glaucoma.(2)

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(1) Qui, M. M.D., Ramulu, P. M.D., PhD, Boland, M. M.D., PhD, Journal of Glaucoma, Association Between Sleep Parameters and Glaucoma in the United States Population: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Association Between Sleep Parameters and Glaucoma in the Uni… : Journal of Glaucoma (

(2) Glaucoma Research Foundation, Sweet Dreams: The Relationship Between Sleep and Glaucoma,

(3) Boyd, K., reviewed by Boland, M. M.D. PhD., American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eye-Opening Study: Relationship Between Glaucoma and Poor Sleep,

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