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Glaucoma patients may lose eyesight by sleeping on one side

By jeremyc | January 21, 2014

A South Korean study suggests that glaucoma patients may lose their visual field (VF) in the lower eye if they sleep on one side. The researchers behind this study were led by Ki Ho Park from the Seoul National University Hospital.

According to the research team, this link between VF loss and sleeping position may be due to intraocular pressure (IOP), which increases the supine patients in glaucoma patients. Similar studies in the past have also shown that lateral decubitus or sideways sleeping position leads to higher IOP in the lower eye.

For this study, the researchers examined 692 primary open-angle glaucoma patients. A total of 510 patients had normal-tension and 182 had high-tension glaucoma. Out of the participants, 430 had asymmetric VF loss and the mean IOP at baseline was different between the better and worse eye. Among these 430 patients, 132 preferred sleeping on their side, 67.4 percent of which preferred sleeping on the side with their worse eye lower than their better eye.

The researchers said that these results may explain VF loss still occurs and worsens in glaucoma patients despite a high control on IOP while sitting. They said, “[The] results of the present study strongly suggest that the sleep position habitually preferred by [open-angle glaucoma] patients may be associated with greater VF loss.”

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