Posted by: Eyecare Associates of New Orleans in Eye Health on July 25, 2023

know the facts about how glaucoma and sleep apnea are linked

Do you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. OSA symptoms include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, feeling sleepy during the day, and waking with a headache. Leaving this condition untreated may lead to serious health problems like stroke, heart attack, or high blood pressure – and it could also lead to vision problems with glaucoma.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association, glaucoma affects the eye’s optic nerve. Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight because there are no signs of symptoms at first. As the optic nerve becomes damaged, vision is gradually lost and cannot be recovered.

A few studies and medical experts believe that sleep apnea patients face an increased risk of glaucoma. They found that patients participating in the studies demonstrated sleep apnea, and their eye pressures were lower when their intraocular pressure was measured. All the studies between obstructive sleep apnea and glaucoma came to a similar conclusion. They concluded that the mechanism increased the risk of oxygen deficiency in the optic nerve.  As the optic nerve becomes damaged, vision is gradually lost and cannot be recovered.

Know the Facts

  • Glaucoma affects 3 million Americans and is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.
  • Many people who have glaucoma have not yet been diagnosed.
  • In 2020, about 80 million people had glaucoma worldwide, which will increase to over 111 million by 2040.
  • Sleep apnea affects 100 million people worldwide and 25 million people in America.
  • People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are approximately ten times more likely to develop glaucoma.
  • There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, but if it’s caught early, you can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. Taking action today to protect your eye health is key!

Schedule an Appointment

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), make time to have a comprehensive eye exam so your eye doctor can check and discuss your potential risk for glaucoma. We care about your eye health; our highest priority is our patients’ healthy eyesight!


References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. Studies: Meta-Analysis by Liuiovs.arvojournals.orgOman Journal of Ophthalmology/ This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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