Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked to Eye Diseases

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November 13, 2008

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Researchers have discovered associations between obstructive sleep apnea and a variety of eye diseases, including glaucoma and continuous positive airway pressure–associated eye complications, according to a review published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings . Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a literature search using combinations of terms associated with sleep disorders and eye disease and found associations between ophthalmologic complications and obstructive sleep apnea, one of the most common sleep disorders. Complications included loss of vision due to damage to the optic nerve caused by insufficient blood supply, floppy eyelid syndrome and swelling around the optic nerve. They also noted that blindness is often linked to an increased risk of circadian rhythm disorders. The researchers concluded that it is important for primary care physicians, ophthalmologists and sleep physicians to use this information when diagnosing sleep or eye disorders.