Does treatment for interrupted breathing during sleep affect eye pressure?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Dariusz Wozniak
  • Institute: Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Region: East of England
  • Start date: November 2016
  • End Date: October 2017
  • Priority: Emerging threats
  • Eye Category: Glaucoma


Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which a particular pattern of damage to the optic nerve leads to irreversible blindness. The optic nerve is a bundle of connections that takes visual signals from the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye and passes them on to the brain.

Optic nerve damage in glaucoma is often due to high eye pressure. This can happen if there’s a problem with draining fluid from the eye.

It’s also possible that damage might be made worse by problems with blood vessels and the oxygen supply to the retina. For example, interrupted breathing during sleep (obstructive sleep apnoea) might have an effect.

The researchers are currently finding out about how common it is for people to have both glaucoma and obstructive sleep apnoea in a sister project.

In the current study the researchers want to know what if any effect a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea might have on glaucoma. Treatment involves keeping the airway open with constant gentle air pressure delivered via a mask worn while sleeping. Results from the study will help us learn the best way to treat both conditions together.