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Volume 13 No. 11
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Accepted Papers

Review Articles

Ocular Manifestations of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Matthew Santos, BS; R. Jeffrey Hofmann, MD
Brown University, Alpert Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island

Study Objectives:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) incurs a host of systemic side effects. The eyes are particularly susceptible to both mechanical and vascular sequelae of the disease. This paper outlines the ocular manifestations of sleep apnea. The authors hope to increase awareness of the ocular complications of this common disorder and increase communication and co-management between eye-care providers and sleep specialists alike.


Data were collected from PubMed and the Brown University Library Collection.


Twenty-two papers were included in this review to address floppy eyelid syndrome, nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, central serous retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and glaucoma. We used three meta-analyses and several cross-sectional cohort and case-control studies that investigate the aforementioned conditions and their associations with OSA.


Hypoxia induced by nightly cessation of breathing increases patients' risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and other conditions. As with many maladies detrimental to vascular health, obstructive sleep apnea affects the eye and ocular adnexa. This paper summarizes the current evidence implicating OSA in these ocular maladies and highlights their proposed mechanisms. The authors describe ocular pathology which sleep specialists may encounter. We encourage more aggressive attention to ocular symptoms in patients with sleep apnea to prevent vision-threatening complications. Further research should investigate how sleep apnea treatment affects these ocular findings and identify which sleep apnea patients are most prone to developing ocular pathology.


Santos M, Hofmann RJ. Ocular manifestations of obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(11):1345–1348

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