Sleep Apnea and a Mysterious Eye Disorder
In a new study out of Great Britain, researchers have uncovered a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and floppy eyelid syndrome (FES). The study finds the factors that are shared by the two syndromes, and it is believed will help doctors better diagnose and treat patients as it gives doctors the suggestion that they should look for OSA in a patient when they find FES, and vice-versa.
The study was led by Daniel G. Ezra, MD, MRCOphth, of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England and published in the April issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
FES is characterized by rubbery-textured upper eyelids that may flip while a person is asleep to expose the whites of their eyes. The patient’s eyes then become dry and irritated and may develop a discharge. It is believed that since Obstructive Sleep Apnea may impair the central nervous system, during sleep a patient may not wake up normally when breathing slows down or stops, or when their eyelid is subjected to extreme stress. This, combined with the belief that OSA patients may often sleep on their side, is believed to cause repeated pressure on the eyelid, which could be contributing factors to Floppy Eye Syndrome.
Dr. Ezra stated that “About one-third of the FES patients in our study also had OSA. 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.
If you would like to read more from the study, visit The American Academy of Opthomology.
To find out more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, visit Eos Sleep’s section.
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