Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea, (or Apnea if you use American English) has recently been linked to poor outcomes for people with Wet AMD- researchers have found that many people who do not respond to IntraVitreal injections of Lucentis (bevacizumab) did have undiagnosed and therefore untreated Sleep Apnoea.

Sleep Apnoea is a potentially serious condition where the individuals throat narrows when sleeping. In some individuals the throat can become completely closed, causing them to be unable to breath. They will struggle to breath when asleep, but the brain then wakens the person, and while it may take a few seconds, they do start to breath again, though there may be a choking sensation until they do start. This can cause a seriously disrupted night for the sufferer and perhaps partner, and sleep apnoea sufferers are often chronically tired, some can fall asleep in the middle of a sentence, or even while driving.

People with sleep apnoea are usually constantly tired, and the reduced Blood Oxygen levels during an episode can cause problems with many body organs, including the brain and the eye. Another recent finding is that people with this condition are 1.67 times more likely to develop Glaucoma than non sufferers.

There are different types of Sleep Apnoea, the most common type is Obstructive, and can be managed by weight loss- if applicable, restricting alcohol intake and stopping using sleeping tablets if used. Sometimes just raising the head more, a different sleeping position, and nasal decongestants can help. Other sufferers can use a special mask which feeds higher than normal pressure air to them- this extra pressure helps keep the airway open. Apnoea can affect both sexes, but is more likely in men, and may tend to run in families, possibly indicating a genetic link.

The link to poorer outcomes in AMD is here, and the link to the increased risk of Glaucoma is here – you may need to register (free) to see the articles.

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