Sleep Apnea and Eyesight in the Triangle NC

Beth BiggerThe ability to sleep properly each night affects many organs in the human body, including our eyes. Everyone in Raleigh and Durham who notice excessive sleepiness during the day may have a disorder called Sleep Apnea, in which the throat muscles block the airway, causing breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep.

These continuous pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and may occur up to 30 times per hour. The pauses cause the body to move out of a deep sleep into a lighter sleep, leaving sufferers sleepy during the day.

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 12 million people in the United States have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

If you live in the Triangle and think you have this condition, Park Ophthalmology and Beth R. Friedland MD (pictured) are just a phone call away from evaluation.

Sleep Apnea is a risk for several eye conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can cause two types of Glaucoma which is the second most common cause of blindness. People with harsh cases of sleep apnea tend to have more severe cases of glaucoma. People with OSA should receive an annual eye examination to check for Glaucoma, especially if they experience any changes in vision.
  • Floppy Eyelid Syndrome: This disorder has an odd name, but is uncomfortable to those who have it. It causes the eyelids to turn inside-out spontaneously during sleep, which leads to eye watering, stickiness, and blurred vision.
  • Non- Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Nueropathy (NAION): While painless, people with this condition experience sudden vision loss in one eye, usually noticed upon wakening. Up to 6,000 people annually in the United States are diagnosed with NAION, which can cause irreversible vision loss.
  • Papilledema: Obstructive sleep apnea may also cause Papilledema, or swelling of the optic nerve. This swelling can lead to pressure, worsening vision and, in some cases, blindness.

Although the links between these conditions and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are not always clear, knowing the links may exist can help ophthalmologists stay alert for these problems. Talk to Park Ophthalmology if you experience any signs of these conditions or excessive sleepiness. Remember that regular eye exams are critical to eye health.


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 Sleep Apnea is brought to you by the professional team atPark 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


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