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Eye Conditions Linked with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Date:11/10/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If a good night's sleep helps the brain and body perform better, it's a good guess that sleep problems can cause more than just fatigue. Numerous studies have shown a connection between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and metabolic disorders, including the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus. In the November issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers outline several interesting associations between sleep disorders and eye disease.

Obstructive sleep apnea and eye disorders

More than 12 million people in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea -- a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Sleep apnea has several types. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when throat muscles relax and block the airway.

Multiple studies have identified OSA as an independent risk factor for the development of several medical conditions, including high blood pressure, which are related to impairments or alterations in a person's vascular (circulatory) system. With their own complex and sensitive vascular system, the eyes can sometimes signal and be affected by systemic vascular problems.

"Given the vascular consequences of OSA, it is not surprising that ophthalmologic manifestations exist," explains the article's lead author, E. Andrew Waller, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist and sleep specialist.

The researchers conducted a literature search focused on sleep disorders and eye disease. In the article, they discuss a variety of ophthalmologic conditions associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Highlighted below are a few findings.

* Floppy eyelid syndrome: This disorder causes eyelids to evert (turn inside-out) spontaneously during sleep, resulting in excessive watering, stickiness, discomfort and blurred vision. While no
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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