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According to a 10-year study published Wednesday in a scientific journal, insomnia, snoring, daytime sleepiness and even too much sleep can increase the risk of glaucoma, which in turn can lead to vision loss .
More than 400,000 people aged 40 to 69 were studied in the UK Biobank study, which comprehensively examined sleep patterns leading to glaucoma – a disease characterized by progressive loss of light-sensitive cells in the eye and damage to the optic nerve.
Over a mean follow-up period of just over 10.5 years, 8690 cases of glaucoma were identified. Among people with glaucoma, there were more men, older people, and those who had high blood pressure, diabetes, or smokers.
With the exception of chronotype, the other four patterns of sleep and lifestyle were associated with different increased risk of glaucoma.
Short or long sleep duration was associated with an 8% increased risk, insomnia – 12%, snoring – 4% and frequent daytime sleepiness –20%.
One explanation scientists have suggested is that intraocular pressure, a key factor in the development of glaucoma, rises when a person lies down and when sleep hormones don't work properly.< br />
Another reason is that repeated or prolonged episodes of low cellular oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea can cause direct damage to the optic nerve.
In addition, depression and anxiety, which are often associated with insomnia, can also increase intraocular pressure, possibly due to dysregulation of cortisol production.
The research team stated: “Because sleep behavior is modifiable, these findings highlight the need for sleep intervention. for people at high risk of glaucoma and potential eye screening among people with chronic sleep problems to help prevent glaucoma”.
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