April 2, 2022
Every night, millions of Americans miss out on countless hours of precious sleep because of sleep apnea; not only that, but this condition can also lead to a variety of different health problems if left untreated! Among these are vision problems—recent research has shown that there is actually a very strong link between sleep apnea and diabetes-related vision problems. Keep reading to learn more about this connection and what you can do.
The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Vision Problems
You might be wondering what a condition that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep has to do with your eyesight—this is a valid concern, but the connection is legitimate! Research conducted over an 8-year period at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan revealed a strong connection between sleep apnea and a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the eyes. If this condition remains untreated it can develop into something called macular edema, which is marked by fluid buildup in the retina. This will seriously damage your eyes and can also cause vision loss! It can happen to anyone, too—but it’s much more common in those who suffer from diabetes.
Even though the link between sleep apnea and vision problems might seem a little indirect, sleep apnea can absolutely trigger the chain of events that eventually leads to blindness, especially in diabetic patients. Another example is the effect that sleep apnea has on your physical well-being. Memory loss, fatigue, and stress can all stem from the lack of sleep that sleep apnea causes, and these symptoms can increase your blood pressure—which in turn can lead to damaged blood vessels in your eyes!
What You Can Do
The best thing you can do if you’re concerned about how sleep apnea might be affecting you is seeking treatment, especially if you also suffer from diabetes. You must be diagnosed with sleep apnea from a sleep doctor prior to receiving treatment from your dentist, but possible solutions include CPAP machines and oral appliances.
Be sure you follow your dentist’s instructions closely; managing your conditions can help to keep other problems at bay! If you’re diabetic, monitoring your diabetes can also help you to manage your sleep apnea and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet can contribute towards a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk of sleep apnea and, in turn, diabetic retinopathy and other vision-related problems.
Sleep apnea doesn’t just ruin a good night’s sleep—it also jeopardizes your eyesight if you don’t manage certain heath conditions. If you’re concerned about how sleep apnea is affecting your sleep and vision, seek treatment so you can put your concerns to rest and get back to bed.
About the Author
Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine is proud to serve patients in Weatherford, TX under the leadership of Dr. Deborah A. Romack. Dr. Romack received her DDS from the Baylor College of Dentistry and is a member of many professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to reach out through Dr. Romack’s website or by phone: (817) 594-3806.
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