Treating sleep apnoea aids glaucoma control

September 3, 2014

Severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is an important risk factor for developing glaucoma and must be treated in those who have it to improve control of the eye disease, according to new research.

Severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is an important risk factor for developing glaucoma and must be treated in those who have it to improve control of the eye disease, according to new research published in Eye.

Researchers in Qatar assessed for glaucoma in 39 adults who had been diagnosed with moderate or severe OSA. They classified the severity of OSA as mild, moderate, or severe using American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) criteria and the apnoea hypopnoea index. All study participants underwent serial visual field tests, optical coherence tomography with fundus photography, and pachymetry before the study began, and they were followed in an ophthalmology outpatient clinic and a sleep clinic for 3 years.

The investigators discovered that 8 (20.5%) of the study participants who had OSA also had glaucoma; 6 (75%) of them had normal-tension glaucoma (NTG), and 2 (25%) had the high-tension version. Among the 27 participants in whom OSA was classified as severe, the eye disease was present in 7 (25.9%), and among 12 patients with moderate OSA, the eye disease was present in 1 (8.3%).

During follow-up, two participants in whom glaucoma originally had not been diagnosed were reclassified as having NTG. Also, the condition of two participants who had glaucoma deteriorated. A higher prevalence of glaucoma existed in those with severe OSA than in those with moderate OSA, although the difference was not statistically significant.

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