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How is sleep apnea linked to eye disorders?

What’s interesting about this study is that it debunked previous notions about floppy eyelid syndrome (FES), which had long been considered a disease of overweight, middle-aged men. The British researchers did not find such a pattern based on age, gender, or body mass index (a measure of weight and barometer for obesity). But they did find a remarkable pattern with regard to obstructive sleep apnea, which affects more than 18 million people in the United States:

• People with FES have rubbery-textured upper eyelids that may easily flip up during sleep, exposing the whites of their eyes, which can lead to dry, irritated eyes and/or discharge.

• Most people would awaken if their eyes became excessively dry and irritated during sleep, but people with OSA may have a dysfunctional nervous system that prevents them from waking to address their eyes.

• What’s more, people with OSA tend to sleep on one side, which could result in intense, repeated pressure on the eyelid on that side of the face.

• The combination of all these factors may contribute to or cause FES.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.