Study Finds Correlation Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma Progression

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Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for glaucoma. Now a retrospective comparative cohort study in Eye (London) found a significant correlation between obstructive sleep apnea and glaucoma progression.

Participants (N = 32) were from the polysomnography database in Chang Gung Memorial Hospital between June 2009 to June 2017, and included patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, or glaucoma suspect. Researchers evaluated peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness on optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans, and visual field (VF) mean deviation (MD) and VF index (VFI) were determined through linear regression trend analysis.

Participants were stratified into two groups: no/mild or moderate/severe obstructive sleep apnea. They were followed for 3 years and had at least three consecutive reliable OCT or VF tests.

Results showed that those with moderate/severe obstructive sleep apnea had greater progression on VF tests and RNFL thickness on OCT tests. However, glaucoma progression was not affected in those who were treated for obstructive sleep apnea.

In patients with thinning RNFL or VF deterioration, the authors recommend considering possible undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.


Fan YY, Su WW, Liu CH, et al. Correlation between structural progression in glaucoma and obstructive sleep apnea [published online ahead of print April 2019]. Eye (Lond). doi: 10.1038/s41433-019-0430-2.

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