Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Sleep Apnea & Diabetic Eye Problems?


If you have diabetes, did you know that having severe sleep apnea may increase your risk of developing diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss or blindness? Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) also appears to be more difficult to treat in patients with severe sleep apnea according to reports from researchers at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, disrupting sleep and causing blood oxygen levels to drop. This drop in oxygen appears to unleash a host of changes in the body that may play a role in injuring blood vessels. People with sleep apnea are at risk of developing hypertension, heart attacks, stroke and type 2 diabetes. When people with diabetes have poor control over their blood sugar levels, the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye can become damaged. Sometimes, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels, leaking fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling or edema-called Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) in an area of the retina that allows us to see clearly. Researchers believe that sleep apnea may contribute to the development and worsening of diabetic retinopathy by increasing insulin resistance, elevating inflammation and raising blood pressure, all of which can damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye.

If you or someone you know is diabetic and especially if you suffer from sleep apnea, please be sure to have an annual eye exam and be tell your eye doctor that you suffer from sleep apnea as it is a risk factor Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). Please call us to schedule a diabetic eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.