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 Bethlehem Eye Associates-610-691-3335, visit Bethlehem Eye Associates or Facebook 

Bethlehem Eye Associates is a comprehensive eye care practice staffed by ophthalmologist & optometrist eye doctors and eye specialists located in Bethlehem Lehigh Valley, PA, an affiliate of Prism Vision Group.

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