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Are glaucoma and obstructive sleep apnea connected?

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A recent study published in the Journal of Glaucoma suggests an association between Singaporean adults diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and a higher change of glaucoma development.

Tell me about the study.

A population-based, cross-sectional study gathered data from 3,126 adults from Singapore (Indian and Malay descent) aged 40 and above from 2011 to 2015. Researchers assessed glaucoma by classifying into two categories: primary closed-angle glaucoma (PCAG) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).

Patients were assessed for a risk of OSA using the Snoring, Tiredness, Observed apnea, high blood Pressure, Body mass index, Age, Neck circumference and male Gender (STOP-Bang) questionnaire, and categorized from low to intermediate/high risk. (via)

What were the findings?

Of the total number of participants, 134 (4.3%) had glaucoma broken down to 22 with PCAG, 86 with POAG, and 26 with secondary glaucomas. Those with an intermediate or high risk OSA also had a 50% more likelihood of glaucoma development versus participants with a lower OSA risk (P = .035).

For patients with an intermediate/higher risk of OSA, investigators observed a nonsignificant increase in their chance for having POAG (compared to patients with a low risk for OSA). (via)

Significance of this?

Research findings on the OSA-glaucoma relationship were based on ethnicity, specifically Malays with an intermediate/higher risk for OSA were found to have a 2-fold risk of having glaucoma of any type, while the same was not observed among Indians.

Take home.

While the lead author, Anjali Mehta, BS, admits to several methodology limitations, results did indicate an intermediate or high risk of OSA may be associated with a 50% higher chance of having glaucoma within the Singaporean population. While a 2-fold higher risk for glaucoma in Malays was noted, a confirmatory study would be needed.