A study published in the journal ‘Ophthalmology’ states that people suffering from asthma experience sleep apnoea or Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing an eye condition that causes nearsightedness at a relatively young age. The research was undertaken by researchers from the University of Michigan who checked individuals for a condition called keratoconus.
Keratoconus makes the cornea weak, which enables it to become cone–shaped over time. The study revealed that females, including the Asian–Americans along with the people suffering from diabetes are at a lower risk of developing keratoconus. On the contrary, men, African–Americans, Latinos along with the people suffering from asthma, sleep apnoea or Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing keratoconus.
"Eye health relates to the total body health, and we, as ophthalmologists, need to be aware of more than just eyeballs when we see patients," said Maria Woodward, assistant professor from the University of Michigan Medical School. Researchers examined data from the health insurance claims of more than 16,000 people aged between 30 and 40 years, wherein half of them had keratoconus and the other half did not have keratoconus, but possessed similar characteristics. Thereafter, they studied the medical conditions that are mostly associated with keratoconus. It was concluded that people with Down syndrome are six times more prone to developing keratoconus. Similarly, people with sleep apnoea and asthma are also at a higher risk of developing the condition.