4 Interesting Ways Sleep Apnea Affects Eye Health

Park 07-05-16 David Castillo Dominici ID-10095461Many people in Raleigh, Durham, and the Triangle often wake up feeling tired even though they’ve slept all night long. One of the causes of tiredness after awakening could be sleep apnea, a condition that also affects eye health. People with sleep apnea stop breathing many times during the night, preventing an effective sleep pattern. This type of sleep is hard on many organs, including the eyes. When patients visit Dr. Beth R. Friedland for regular eye examinations, they need to report all medical conditions, including sleep apnea. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 12 million Americans experience sleep apnea. Snoring can often be a sign of the condition, but not all those who snore have it.  All Park Ophthalmology patients will have their eye health evaluated in connection with medical conditions, including sleep apnea.

Here are four very interesting ways untreated sleep apnea can affect eye health:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome:Sleep apnea can cause eyelids to turn inside-out during sleep. On waking, the person experiences watery eyes and blurred vision.  
  • Papilledema: There may be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and swelling of the optic nerve, called papilledema. Optic nerve swelling increases pressure in the eye and can make vision worse or even lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma: The second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma tends to be worse for those with obstructive sleep apnea. Because glaucoma can grow more advanced and do significant vision damage before it is diagnosed, it is essential that those at risk for glaucoma, including those with sleep apnea, stay current on their annual eye exams.
  • Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION): When blood flow is reduced to the optic nerve, permanent damage can be done to vision. In addition to sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking all contribute to development of NAION. People with NAION notice sudden vision loss in one eye upon waking.

As a local Triangle Ophthalmologist, Beth R. Friedland M.D. has the medical training and professional experience to help diagnose conditions such as sleep apnea. Waking up tired every morning could be a clear sign of sleep apnea. Please contact Park Ophthalmology or your primary care physician today to get tested as soon as possible. There are several ways to treat sleep apnea and regain restful sleep.

Get that checkup. Eyes are too important.


Park Ophthalmology welcomes patients from all areas of the Triangle and offers a wide variety of specialized services including surgery for diseases of the eye, vision examinations, eye safety information, sports medicine protective eyewear and counseling, contact lenses and evaluation, and all types of ocular diagnosis and treatment. Many types of surgery are available, including cataract and laser surgery. We are here for you and your eye and overall health. Give us a call today!

This article about the vision care is brought to you by the professional team at Park Ophthalmology located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.

The information contained in this blog article is intended solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be offered as medical advice.


Park Ophthalmology

5306 NC Highway 55, Suite 102 (adjacent to the RTP/ Research Triangle Park)

Durham, NC 27713

Office: 919 544 5375

Fax: 919 544 5829


Park Ophthalmology North

6512 Six Forks Road, Suite 105

Raleigh, NC 27615

919 846 6915

Office Manager Jenny Whitman, e-mail: jenny.brfeyecare@ncrrbiz.com.

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Photo: David Castillo Dominici/Freedigitalphotos.net/





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