Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and the link to several eye diseases and conditions have been studied for a long time and there are countless variations to the extent of correlation between the two.
However, there is overwhelming evidence and agreement amongst professionals that there are substantially higher risks of getting certain eye diseases and conditions if you suffer from OSA.
I want to concentrate on a few of the “stronger linked” eye conditions that are statistically most likely to occur.
Glaucoma (all varieties) has had the most amount of research and studies done in relation to OSA.
The facts are pretty clear with numbers averaging about 1.6 times more likely to get Glaucoma if you already suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness, but if diagnosed and treated early enough, should not get to this stage.
There are renewed recommendations from the latest Research that Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosis should be followed up with a thorough eye exam for Glaucoma.
This recommendation has been made in the past, but unfortunately to no avail.
The best source of Glaucoma information that I have found is the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is the most common eye disorder that has been positively linked to those with OSA.
In some studies, as high as 90% of FES patients also suffered with OSA.
However, before taking that incredibly high statistic out of context, it is also estimated that only 2% to 5% of those that suffer from OSA will experience Floppy Eyelid Syndrome.
For more details on Floppy Eyelid Syndrome, one of the more detailed sites is the Medscape Website.
There are a few other notable eye diseases and conditions that affect the optic nerve that have some research findings that demonstrate above “normal” occurrence in those that suffer from OSA.
Two notable ones are Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION) and Papilledema.
It’s pretty obvious by now of what your next course of action should be if you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, regardless of whether you suspect or are experiencing any of the eye conditions detailed above.
You should have an eye health examination and especially if you are over 40 and then follow up regularly with checkups or if you experience any eye problems.
Most of these eye conditions are highly treatable if caught in the early stages, so don’t risk losing your sight over a simple eye exam.