Sleep apnea linked to eye disorder

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April 5, 2010

A recent study published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reporting that the condition known as floppy eyelid syndrome (FES) is strongly associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Floppy Eyelid Syndrome is caused by weakened muscles or decreased elastin in eyelids and is more prevalent in overweight males over sixty years old.

Researchers found that "about one-third (32 of 102) FES patients in our study also had OSA," lead researcher Dr. Daniel G. Ezra, MD, MRCOphth, of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England said. "The significant association of the two disorders was evident even when we considered and controlled for patients' body-mass index (BMI, an indicator of whether obesity was a factor). FES is often considered a disease of overweight, middle-aged men, but our study did not find a patient cluster based on age, gender or BMI," he added. The findings implying that when doctors see FES in a patient, they should also look for OSA, and vice-versa.

People suffering from FES may experience all or several of the following symptoms: Droopy eyelids; dry, red or swollen eyes; mucous discharge (worse in the morning); frequent infections; easily inverted eyelids; sleep disturbances and morning headaches.

Learn more about the study and check out this article on the role our eyes play during sleep .