AIM: To determine if sleep apnoea is associated with an increased risk of developing glaucoma. METHODS: This was a nested case-control study. Patients seen at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (BVAMC) in Birmingham, Alabama, with newly diagnosed glaucoma (cases) between 1997 through 2001 were selected (n = 667) and age matched with non-glaucomatous controls (n = 6667). Patient information was extracted from the BVAMC data files containing demographic, clinical, and medication information. An index date was assigned to the glaucoma subjects corresponding to the time of diagnosis. Patients who had a glaucoma diagnosis before the observation period of the study were excluded. 10 controls were randomly selected for each case and matched on age (plus or minus 1 year) and an encounter on or before the index date of the matched case. Ihe main outcome measures were crude and adjusted relative risks for the association between the previous diagnosis of sleep apnoea and the development glaucoma. Adjustment was performed for the associations of diabetes, lipid metabolism disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, arterial disease, and migraines. RESULTS: Individuals who developed glaucoma were more likely to have a previous sleep apnoea diagnosis relative to control subjects. However, this finding was of borderline significance at an alpha of 0.05 (p value = 0.06, odds ratio = 2.20, 95% confidence intervals 0.967 to 5.004). Following adjustment for other potential risk factors, no significant difference was seen (p value = 0.18, odds ratio = 1.80, 95% confidence interval 0.76 to 4.23). CONCLUSIONS: This nested case-control study does not support a large impact of sleep apnoea on the eventual development of glaucoma relative to other putative risk factors.