Association of sleep behaviour and pattern with the risk of glaucoma: a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank

BMJ Open. 2022 Nov 1;12(11):e063676. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-063676.


Objectives: Given the role of intraocular pressure in glaucoma, the patient's sleeping pattern might contribute to the development and progression of glaucoma. We performed a study to understand the association between sleep behaviours and glaucoma.

Design: Our study was a prospective cohort study.

Setting: This was a prospective cohort study in the UK Biobank. Self-reported data on five sleep behaviours were collected using a questionnaire at baseline. We identified four sleep patterns based on a cluster analysis of the sleep behaviours.

Participants: In the UK Biobank, 409 053 participants were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed for a diagnosis of glaucoma. We identified glaucoma as any hospital admission with a diagnosis of glaucoma, based on UK Biobank inpatient hospital data. Individuals who withdrew from the UK Biobank, or were diagnosed with glaucoma before recruitment, or had self-reported surgery or laser treatment for glaucoma, or had no information on sleep behaviors were excluded.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the associations of different sleep behaviors, as well as identified sleep patterns, with the risk of glaucoma, adjusting for multiple confounders.

Results: Compared with individuals who had a healthy sleep pattern, an excess risk of any glaucoma was observed among individuals with snoring and daytime sleepiness (HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.19) or insomnia and short/long sleep duration (HR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.20), but not late chronotype sleep pattern (HR 0.98, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.03).

Conclusion: Snoring, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, and short/long duration, individually or jointly, were all associated with the risk of glaucoma. These findings underscore the need for sleep intervention for individuals at high risk of glaucoma as well as potential ophthalmologic screening among individuals with chronic sleep problems for glaucoma prevention.

Keywords: epidemiology; glaucoma; sleep medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence*
  • Glaucoma*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders*
  • Snoring
  • United Kingdom