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How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease. 

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences. 

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma. 

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome 

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO. 

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Texas State Optical Mansfield in Mansfield we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

We all know that eating nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising can boost our health. So it’s no surprise that these same activities also support eye health. Research has shown that regularly consuming certain vitamins and nutrients can actually prevent or delay sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. 

Here’s a list of the best vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime. 

We invite you to consult with our eye doctor, Dr. Cameron Smith, to discuss which nutrients are most suited to your specific eye health and needs. 

Vitamins and Nutrients That Support Eye Health

*Always best to speak with your primary care doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements, and to ensure you consume the correct dosage for your body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can cause a host of eye health issues, including dry eyes and night blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Vitamins A and A1, which are essential for supporting the eye’s photoreceptors (the light-sensing cells) in the retina, can be found in foods like carrots, leafy greens, egg yolks, liver, and fish. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish can support eye health in a few ways. DHA and EPA, 2 different types of Omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to improve retinal function and visual development.  

Omega-3 supplements can also ease dry eye symptoms. A randomized controlled study found that people who consumed Omega-3 supplements experienced improved tear quality, which resulted in reduced tear evaporation and increased eye comfort.  

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the lens and retina and help filter out damaging UV rays and blue light. One study showed that individuals who had the highest levels of these nutrients in their diets had a 43% lower chance of developing macular degeneration than those who had consumed the least amount.  

Spinach, egg yolks, sweet corn, and red grapes are some of the foods that contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Vitamin C 

High amounts of vitamin C can be found in the aqueous humor of the eye, the liquid that fills the eye’s anterior chamber and supports corneal integrity. This has prompted scientists to consider this vitamin’s role in protecting eye health. 

Research suggests that regularly taking vitamin C (along with other essential vitamins and minerals) can lower the risk of developing cataracts, and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

While vitamin C appears to support eye health in a variety of ways, it’s still unclear whether taking this supplement benefits those who aren’t deficient. Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables, like bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, and kale. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids from becoming oxidized. Because the retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, sufficient vitamin E intake is crucial for optimal ocular health. 

Vitamin E can be found in almonds, flaxseed oil, and sunflower seeds. 

Zinc

Healthy eyes naturally contain high levels of zinc. A zinc deficiency can cause night blindness, and thus increasing zinc intake can improve night vision. Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A, an essential antioxidant. 

Make sure to avoid taking high doses of zinc (beyond 100 mg daily) without first consulting your eye doctor. Higher doses of zinc have been associated with side effects such as reduced immune function. You can increase your zinc intake naturally by consuming more oysters, meat, and peanuts. 

Phytochemical Antioxidants

Phytochemical antioxidants are chemicals produced by plants that contain several health benefits. Some studies show that these plant-based chemicals may enhance vision and eye health as well as prevent age-related eye diseases and complications by alleviating ocular oxidative stress. Oxidative stress within the eyes contributes to several eye conditions, including  dry eye syndrome. Consuming more produce with these antioxidants can help balance the anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant system, resulting in healthier eyes. 

Personalized Eye Nutrition 

If you or someone you know is looking for ways to boost or maintain eye health, speak with an optometrist near you about what supplements and vitamins are best for you. For an eye doctor in Mansfield, give us a call at (682) 518-1177.

 

Oasis Tears

Instant and Long-lasting Relief of Dry Eye Symptoms

About Tears oasis tears 1

Tears are essential for keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Tears lubricate your eyes and protect the cornea (outer surface). A lack of tears, improper lubrication or tears draining too quickly can lead to a condition called Dry Eye Syndrome. If not treated, dry eye causes physical discomfort and can affect the quality of your vision.

Tears are produced by the lacrimal glands in the upper and lower eyelids and drain from your eyes through the punctum (tear ducts).

TEAR FILM is made up of 3 layers:oasis tears 2

 

  • LIPID (OIL): Prevents tear film evaporation ie Lipid Layer
  • WATER: Contains water and nutrients Water Layer
  • MUCUS: Mucin Layer Spreads tear film evenly over the eye

Normal tear film

Lipids regulate the evaporation of the water layer. The volume and quality of the tear film on the surface of the eye is critical to maintain ocular surface health, duration of comfort and quality of vision.

Abnormal tear film

For a dry eye sufferer an abnormal tear film develops with a reduction of the lipids, water and mucin layers. Areas of dryness form causing surface damage to the eye.

If You are Having Dry Eye Symptoms

It is important that you discuss your symptoms with your Eye Care Professional. Most dry eye symptoms will remain without treatment and affect your quality of vision. Your Eye Care Professional can perform a simple test to determine the severity of your Dry Eye and recommend the best method of treatment.

Treatment with Oasis TEARS®

Natural tears can be enhanced by using eye drops called ARTIFICIAL TEARS. They supplement the moisture that is missing and lubricate the eyes to temporarily relieve Dry Eye symptoms.

It is important to use a preservative-free drop such as Oasis TEARS-. Most artificial tears contain preservatives which can damage the outer layer of the cornea when using more than 4-6 drops per day.

Oasis TEARS® are a proprietary formulation of glycerin and a highly elastic viscoadaptive agent which keep the tears on the eye surface longer.

oasis tears 3

When the eyelids close, the solu-tion spreads glycerin and water to hydrate and lubricate the ocular surface.

 

When the lids open, the glycerin and water are recaptured and retained for repeated release with each blink.

 

How Glycerin in Oasis TEARS® Worksoasis tears 4

Glycerin interacts with both the water and lipids in tear film and holds them on the corneal surface.

Every Blink Brings Soothing Relief

When the eyelid closes, the elastic nature of Oasis TEARS® allows the solution to thin and spread to cover the ocular surface between blinks.

When the eyelid opens, the Oasis TEARS° solution reforms to capture and hold glycerin, lipids and water produced naturally, forming a tear film layer that stays on the eye longer.

The Products

Oasis TEARS® products give your dry eyes prolonged soothing comfort by coating, moistening and lubricating ocular tissue. With each blink, they re-coat the surface of the eye for long-lasting comfort.

Oasis TEARS® and Oasis TEARS® PLUS are treatments administered in the office at TSO Mansfield.

Three treatment options provide long-lasting relief for mild to severe symptoms. Your Eye Care Professional can recommend the appropriate Oasis TEARS® product for your dry eye condition.

♦ Superior moistening, lubrication and comfort

♦ Instant relief of symptoms

♦ Long-lasting, fewer applications required

♦ No blurred vision or foreign body sensation

oasis tears 5

CAUSES OF DRY EYE

A lack of tears, improper lubrication, or tears draining too quickly from the eye result in a condition known as Dry Eye, a common problem that is easily diagnosed.

AGING

As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected, however, after menopause and during pregnancy women are especially susceptible.

CONTACT LENSES

Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation that can result in irri-tation, increased protein deposits, in-fection, and discomfort. Dry Eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort and reduced wear time.

ENVIRONMENT

Exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioning; sand, dust or pollen, smoke, high altitudes; work settings and prolonged computer use.

MEDICATIONS

A variety of medications reduce tear secretion. Some common examples are: decongestants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, beta-blockers, anti-depressants, diuretics, pain relievers, oral medications and alcohol.

SURGERY

Surgical procedures can disrupt the production of tears. Unless Dry Eye was present before surgery, post-surgical dry eye is almost always temporary.

AUTDIMMUNE DISEASE

Many diseases and disorders can cause dry eye, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE DRY EYE SYMPTOMS?

If you have any of the symptoms below, you may have Dry Eye:

  • Dry Sensation
  • Scratchy, Gritty Feeling
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Itching
  • Excess Tearing (Watery Eyes)
  • Mucous Discharge
  • Irritation from Wind or Smoke
  • Redness
  • Tired Eyes
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Contact Lens Discomfort
  • Contact Lens Solution Sensitivity
  • Soreness
  • Lid Infections/Sties
  • Sensitivity to Eye Drops
  • Eyelids Stuck Together at Awakening

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A Message to Our Patients

Although the Governor has rescinded the mask mandate, we have been advised by the Texas Optometry Association that Optometrists follow Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals recommended by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). In addition, most, but not all, of our employees are vaccinated. We are hoping to have our entire staff vaccinated by May 1st, 2021.

Until all staff members are vaccinated, the continued safety and well-being of our patients and staff is our number one focus. Masks will be required to be worn by all patients, visitors, and staff while in our practice. We will also continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines and recommendations throughout the practice.

We thank you for your understanding and helping us protect our patients, families, and staff.

TSO Mansfield is locally owned and operated by
Dr. Cameron Smith and Dr. Shawn Prapta