Over 90% of glaucoma cases in India go undiagnosed, which
means a significant portion of patients with this disease must succumb
to irreversible blindness. Unfortunately, there are 12 million cases of glaucoma in India in patients over
the age of 40. However, the good news is that if caught early, doctors
can prevent the progression of vision loss. New studies indicate that there is a significant relationship between sleep and glaucoma.
Sleep and Glaucoma: What’s the Link?
A study published in the Journal of Glaucoma revealed that patients with poor
sleep habits were more prone to developing glaucoma than those with healthy
sleep patterns. The study evaluated the responses of 6,800 patients to
People who slept over 10 hours a night were 3x more prone to developing
People who take 0-9 minutes to fall asleep and those who take over 30
minutes to fall asleep are 2x more prone to developing glaucoma.
Additionally, the study reports that poor sleep habits can also contribute
to the development of Visual Field Defects (VFD) - impairment of vision
in certain spots or blind spots. In fact, the odds of developing VFDs are
higher in people who sleep fewer than 3-4 hours or over 10 hours per night.
Why Does Sleep Affect Glaucoma?
Sleep affects multiple ocular functions,
which can contribute to the development of glaucoma. This is because:
- When you sleep, your eyeballs experience high pressure because of the
way the fluid drains out. High pressure over an extended period can contribute
- Your blood pressure is low when you sleep, which decreases the rate of
blood flow to the optic nerve.
- If you suffer from sleep apnea, you probably stop breathing periodically
while asleep. This leads to lower oxygen levels reaching the optic nerve,
which can cause glaucoma.
Sleep Aids Safe for Glaucoma
Sleep is one of the most talked-about topics in the field of neuroscience
as scientists are now discovering that a lack of proper sleep can contribute
to mental health issues, issues with physiology and even memory. With one
of the most prominent concerns being that sleep can impact glaucoma,
it is imperative to identify resources that can improve sleep, thereby
preventing a host of problems.
While there are plenty of resources available, your first step should
be to speak to your ophthalmologist and primary care physician to rule
out any underlying problems that may be leading to sleep difficulties or
lack of vision. If your lack of sleep is not caused by an underlying disease,
you can try the following sleep aids safe for glaucoma:
Mindfulness meditation allows you to focus solely on your breathing, letting
your mind and body relax and drift off to sleep. There are many apps that
can help you with this.
Sleep hypnosis can help you fall into a deep sleep while also helping
with other problems such as anxiety.
You can speak to your physician about adding melatonin supplements to your diet (right
before bedtime) to ensure you fall into a deep and restful slumber. On
a similar note, you can explore alternative medicines such as lavender
essential oil (which is claimed to promote sleep) if you do not want to
Most health trackers available in the market today monitor the wearer’s
sleep patterns overnight. They can tell you how many hours you’ve slept,
along with the time spent in REM sleep. Using these trackers can help you
collate data that you can show your physician to receive advice.
With studies now indicating that there is a relationship between sleep
and glaucoma, it is essential to enhance your sleep quality. If you have
been experiencing any inconsistencies or abnormalities with your vision,
please get in touch with our experts at Centre for Sight.
With advanced diagnostic tools and innovative technology, our doctors can
offer you the most effective treatment.
Article: Is There a Relationship Between Sleep and Glaucoma?
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Mar 23 2021 | UPDATED
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private
capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.