New Research: Bad Sleep, Snoring, and Sleepiness During the Day Could All Increase Your Risk of Permanent Sight Loss

Athletic Young Man Sleeping

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the eye to the brain. It is typically caused by increased pressure in the eye, which can damage the optic nerve over time. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, especially among older adults.

New findings highlight the importance of sleep therapy for those at risk and eye exams for poor sleepers.

A recent UK Biobank study published in the journal BMJ Open suggests that poor sleep quality, including too much or too little sleep, daytime sleepiness, and snoring, may be associated with an increased risk of developing glaucoma, a condition that causes irreversible vision loss.

The findings highlight the importance of sleep therapy for those at high risk of the disease and eye exams for those with chronic sleep disorders to check for early signs of glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and will likely affect an estimated 112 million people worldwide by 2040. Characterized by progressive loss of light-sensitive cells in the eye and optic nerve damage, its causes and contributory factors are still poorly understood. But if left untreated, glaucoma can progress to irreversible blindness.

While population screening may not be cost-effective, targeted screening of high-risk groups might be, suggest the researchers. And previously published research suggests that sleep disorders may be an important risk factor. To explore these issues further, the researchers set out to ascertain the risk of glaucoma among people with different sleep behaviors: insomnia; too much or too little sleep; night or morning chronotypes (‘owls’ or ‘larks’); daytime sleepiness; and snoring.

They drew on 409,053 participants in the UK Biobank, all of whom were aged between 40 and 69 in 2006-10 when recruited, and who had provided details of their sleep behaviors.

Sleep duration was defined as normal (7 to less than 9 hours/day) and as too little or too much, outside this range. Chronotype was defined according to whether the person described themselves as more of a morning lark or night owl. Insomnia severity—trouble falling asleep at night or frequent waking—was classified as never/sometimes or usually, whereas subjective daytime sleepiness was categorized as never/rarely, sometimes, or frequent.

Background information on potentially influential factors was retrieved from the questionnaires filled in at recruitment: age (average 57), sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, lifestyle, weight (BMI), and residential area level of deprivation. Medical records and death registration data were used to track the health and survival of all the participants until the first diagnosis of glaucoma (hospital admission), death, emigration, or the end of the monitoring period (31 March 2021), whichever came first.

During an average monitoring period of just over 10.5 years, 8690 cases of glaucoma were identified. Those with glaucoma tended to be older and more likely to be male, an ever smoker, and to have high blood pressure or diabetes than those who weren’t diagnosed with the disease.

With the exception of chronotype, the other four sleep patterns/behaviors were all associated with varying degrees of heightened glaucoma risk. Short or long sleep duration was associated with an 8% heightened risk; insomnia 12%; snoring 4%; and frequent daytime sleepiness (20%).

And compared with those with a healthy sleep pattern, snorers and those who experienced daytime sleepiness were 10% more likely to have glaucoma, while insomniacs and those with a short/long sleep duration pattern were 13% more likely to have it.

The results were similar when categorized by different types of glaucoma.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause. The researchers acknowledge that the study relied on self-reporting rather than objective measurement and reflected one point in time only. Glaucoma might itself influence sleep patterns, rather than the other way round, they add.

But there are potentially plausible biological explanations for the associations found between sleep disturbance and glaucoma, say the researchers. The internal pressure of the eye, a key factor in the development of glaucoma, rises when a person is lying down and when sleep hormones are out of kilter, as occurs in insomnia, explain the researchers.

Depression and anxiety, which often go hand in hand with insomnia, may also increase internal eye pressure, possibly because of dysregulated cortisol production, they suggest. Similarly, repetitive or prolonged episodes of low levels of cellular oxygen, caused by sleep apnoea (sudden stopping of breathing during sleep), might cause direct damage to the optic nerve, it has been suggested.

“As sleep behaviors are modifiable, these findings underscore the necessity of sleep intervention for individuals at high risk of glaucoma and potential ophthalmologic screening among individuals with chronic sleep problems to help prevent glaucoma,” conclude the researchers.

Reference: “Association of sleep behaviour and pattern with the risk of glaucoma: a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank” by Cun Sun, Huazhen Yang, Yihan Hu, Yuanyuan Qu, Yao Hu, Yajing Sun, Zhiye Ying and Huan Song, 1 November 2022, BMJ Open.
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-063676

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation of China. 

18 Comments on "New Research: Bad Sleep, Snoring, and Sleepiness During the Day Could All Increase Your Risk of Permanent Sight Loss"

  1. This sort of ‘doesn’t make common sense’ studies are better kept unpublished until more make-sense data become available.

  2. Charles G. Shaver | December 29, 2022 at 10:18 am | Reply

    Understandably, with all of these allergy ignorant and incompetent researchers being from China, Sweden or Iceland, unless I personally wrote them there is no reason for them to be aware of my kind of American immunologist Dr. Arthur F. Coca’s kind (rapid pulse; chronic subclinical non-IgE-mediated; by 1935) of food (minimally) allergies which I know to cause most of the listed symptoms, including insomnia, mistakenly interpreted as separate diseases. Fortunately for me I learned of my multiple food and food additive allergies through shortly thereafter medically abandoned “cytotoxic blood testing for food allergies” in late 1981, and the toxicity of allergy aggravating FDA approved (1980) added ‘cultured-free’ MSG in the summer of 2000, from another adult male victim of the early 1980s. Now age 79, I’ve never been diagnosed with glaucoma but I have been diagnosed with early stage AMD and cataracts. My kind of allergies cause acidic blood and with blood vessels being the most concentrated/densest in the eyes, that is where acidic blood is very likely to do harm, in addition to causing chronic insomnia, etc. Also, it seems appropriate now to mention that I made my lone lay victim investigator discoveries (e.g., most alleged Covid-19 victims are actually dying of undiagnosed food allergies, officially approved food poisoning and related medical errors, not any virus or variant) by being born in the US under the rights and freedoms afforded by the US Constitution; get real, China.

  3. Dear doctor the research is absolutely right I am one of the snoring person but I don’t know what to do where to do this medicine…. I feel many time sleeping while driving. I feel badly snoring and almost I feel in my eyes any extra things feel like water is over I keep wiping… Please do help me for medication what I do where I start to do check up or medicine thank you

  4. The FDA approves Dangerous, Toxic, and is Completely Irresponsible, Greedy, and Criminally Negligent and along with the CDC, WHO, and NIAID, Fausti and Gates, should ALL be in prison along with Big Pharma. Approving Toxic, UNTESTED drugs and “vaccines” is criminal. Using the world population as LAB RATS is criminal. Rand Paul is correct. Flip Flop Fauci should be fired and imprisoned.

  5. Jennifer Rogers | December 31, 2022 at 9:21 am | Reply

    Are we to be a society that believes in rigorous scientific inquiry and debate, (which has uncertainty built in to the system to ensure that we are always inquisitive about the answers,) or are we to be a society that seeks out the clear, sure, and completely unscientific “theories” of “some guy on YouTube”? Those who chose the latter are often well-meaning citizens who are appropriately frightened about the uncertainty of the 21st century viruses and A.I., but their conclusions are misguided, and too often lead more people to believe them because of their “certainty” regarding famous political and business figures, a supposed “deep state,” and vaccines, which have so far saved 2 million lives in the U.S. alone. I grew up among federal employees near D.C., and they are some of the smartest and most well-intentioned among all workers. As an American patriot, I can assure you we have federal government employees we can be proud of, and whose lack of corruption is the envy of the rest of the world.

    • Charles G. Shaver | December 31, 2022 at 1:09 pm | Reply

      Hello, Jennifer. It would be great if we could live in “…a society that believes in rigorous scientific inquiry and debate…” etc. but unfortunately for those of us not privileged to be raised in a “D.C.” fantasy land, such is not the case. To the best of my knowledge, Joe Biden’s (among a very bipartisan 85% of the 106th Congress) first act of treason was his voting in favor of the so-called “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999,” subsequently signed into bad law (repealing Sections 20 and 32 of the Glass-Steagal Banking Act of 1933 [which helped protect us from another “Great Depression” for some sixty-five years] and helping to cause the collapse of the US economy in 2008) by then President Bill Clinton. Like the Covid-19 pandemic that never was (and never will be), it never was just a “Great Recession,” it was and always will be just a ‘great redistribution of working-class wealth to the amoral rich, who cause innumerable problems while never paying their fair share in taxes.

      While ‘politics’ isn’t one of the listed areas of SciTechDaily dot com coverage, it certainly does adversely impact one’s sleep, and health, to lose a home of nine years as I did to foreclosure in October of 2013, at age 69. More specifically, in addition to what I commented on the 29th, above, because none of the mainstream medical research factors-in Dr. Coca’s (by 1935; my) kind of food (minimally) allergies and/or FDA approved food poisoning (soy [early 1970s] and MSG [1980], minimally; others) most if not all of the subsequent so-called “evidence-based” medical research is questionable (at best) and/or invalid (at worst). Also factoring-in medical error (third leading cause of death, Johns Hopkins researchers, May of 2016), I have personally observed an ‘illness industry’ evolve into a “National Healthcare Crisis” and then, just prior to the Covid-19 scamdemic, a ‘silent American genocide.’

      By my personal estimate, your 2 million US lives saved with vaccines is a little offset with some 30 million premature unsuspecting American deaths just since 1980, and some 15 million just since the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and The Lancet declined to publish my lay 2011 submissions on allergies, calcium deficiency and standard blood serum testing being unreliable for calcium (e.g., blood pH regulation). After first writing the FDA (with replies) of my early lay findings of allergies, added MSG, chronic disease and obesity in October of 2005 (after some 20,000 others about MSG before me, website counter in the day; more than 3,000 professional others since, updating as possible, equally ‘in-vain’), I don’t blame you or foreign researchers, at all, for not knowing to factor-in undiagnosed allergies, FDA approved food poisoning and/or medical errors when calculating lives saved. But, I do blame all of those federal employee and public servant pawns and puppets of Big Pharma and multinational corporations who sold out by late 1999, and since.

      Anecdotally, with obesity, so-called “male-pattern-baldness” and eyeglasses for myopia being the three most obvious common (to my personal experience and observations) symptoms, you may want to check yourself and your loved ones for my kind of long-term allergy reactions in progress. Sadly, the lab testing for allergies that I had in late 1981 was medially abandoned shortly thereafter. On the ‘up’ side, at-home identification and treatment are still possible (The Pulse Test, Dr. Coca, 1956, now available free online in PDF format). Now, for me, it again begs these two questions: “Why do I have to keep repeating myself to more highly educated and privileged professionals, thousands of times, and should I make a new year’s resolution in the final hours of 2022 to stop doint it?”

  6. Perhaps lilly would be happier living somewhere where FDA has no oversight. Good luck with that.

    • Charles G. Shaver | December 31, 2022 at 1:30 pm | Reply

      Deana, there once was a time when “FDA” didn’t stand for “Fatal Drug Approver” but that was long ago. Check out all I commented above. Also, despite spellchecking, an even more serious phosphorus deficiency, since the calcium deficiency I already mentioned, makes me a little more dyslexic and prone to typos than I should be. Be careful; be safe; be well.

  7. Lily‘a comment show her ignorance

  8. ERIC GAIL CARPENTER | December 31, 2022 at 8:03 pm | Reply

    Ummm…Charles Shaver dropped the mike… any further debate from that point forward is moot…but, clearly, Democrats are wired to make themselves look like a moron while we are all gobsmacked and embarrassed for them…I see you, DEANA!

  9. Seriously?!? A 3% difference between healthy sleeps and insomniacs. Essentially, equal when considering +/- accuracy. But completely pass over “ever smoker, and to have high blood pressure or diabetes” as a possible factor. Talk about trying, desperately, to make the results fit a hypothesis. This is perfect example of bad “science”

  10. Abubakar Muhammad Sani | December 31, 2022 at 11:10 pm | Reply

    Guys, this research is inline.
    What Doctor say is right.

    in Apparent reality, the creature called ‘Spirit’, do enter our body and causes so many problems including snoring depending on how strong the spirit is.

    When your ear fluid drain, the ear becomes door to spirit and you start to suffer much including snoring, eye sight, etc.

    Sleeping prayer help prevent and block spirit from entering inside you until you wake up.

    Very important.

  11. I’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma. I have high BP, “had” extremely Low vitamin D, gradual cupping of my Opnic Nerve. My Dr. Caught it with regular eye exams. I now take Cosoft and another to keep my eye pressure below 20. I had lasic, so realize that will affect your eye pressure number (add 4). I have 4-5 vodkas a night and snore like a champ. I’m reading this article at 4am in California because I woke myself up snoring!

    The point is, GET EYE EXAMS and don’t listen to people like phauuking Rand Paul and deniers. Go see a real doctor… And thank God for Fauci!

  12. To me this has got to be the most insane thing I’ve ever heard it’s dosent make any kind of sense I know how to research I’m 63 years young and I haven’t lost my abilities I’m researching this for my own peace of mind you just can’t write things like this you would have every senior citizen running to the doctor sorry not here this is really sick I’m not believing it until I see substantial proof ok

  13. Keri and Deana, I won’t stoop to reply to your RUDE uneducated comments, but I will say this: as a Registered Nurse of 30+ years in an acute care hospital, I fully trusted the FDA, CDC, WHO, NIAID, JCAH, etc. BUT after EXTENSIVE research on toxic drugs, adverse reactions, and worse- long term use of such drugs, by way of research companies with NO Agendas, And the Fake Destructive mRNA ” vaccine” I absolutely do not trust ANY of them. If you REALLY want to know the TRUTH, I challenge you to read, “The Real Fauci and Big Pharma” by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Also, I challenge you to go on Daystar TV and watch the series titled “Censored” by Joni Lamb.
    Most people don’t search reliable sources, sadly.
    Using the world population of innocent, trusting people as LAB RATS, for their greedy power and wealth is ABOMINABLE and CRIMINAL.
    I have always been pro-vaccine, until this pandemic and the entire world jumped on the bandwagon of compliance, rather than allowing herd immunity to run its natural course.
    I feel sorry for those innocent people that suffered death and lifetime complications from that untested, unproven, unsafe ” vaccine”. I sincerely hope you are not among them.
    A pandemic historically lasts an average of 18 months- NOT until the world governments and Big Pharma say it’s okay to live again. People unnecessarily lost lives, homes, businesses, friends, family and loved ones because of the mishandling of TRUE Scientific information, and that is NOT Flip- Flop Fauci.
    God bless you. If you want truth, you have to search for yourselves in real health information communities such ad Pub Med.

  14. Joseph Carpenter | January 4, 2023 at 11:38 am | Reply

    The article is more credible than the comments. Why visit a science news site if not interested in objective learning? This is part of the mystery of our new compromise culture clash.

  15. This group of comments was so bizarre. That’s all I gots to say.

  16. Apparently this site can’t handle and publish the TRUTH.

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