Wednesday November 20, 2019

Severe Sleep Apnea Linked to Vision Loss in Diabetic Patients

This condition is called 'Diabetic Retinopathy' and is a leading cause of blindness in the US

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Sleep Apnea, Vision, Diabetic
Based on the results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema. Pixabay

Severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for developing diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss or blindness, a study said.

For the study, the research team looked at the data from all patients diagnosed over an 8-year period at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan.

“Based on the results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema,” said study researcher Juifan Chiang from Taiwan.

This condition is called ‘Diabetic Retinopathy’ and is a leading cause of blindness in the US.

Sleep Apnea, Vision, Diabetic
For the study, the research team looked at the data from all patients diagnosed over an 8-year period at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Pixabay

Diabetic macular edema is more difficult to treat in patients with severe sleep apnea, the researchers said.

When diabetics have poor control over the blood sugar levels, 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 in an area of the retina that allows us to see clearly.

According to the researchers, 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.

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They found the rate of severe sleep apnea was significantly higher in patients with diabetic macular edema compared with those without diabetic macular edema (80.6 per cent vs. 45.5 per cent).

They also found that the worse their sleep apnea was, the worse their macular edema.

Severe sleep apnea was also more prevalent in patients who needed more treatment to control their macular edema.

The study was presented at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in the US. (IANS)

Next Story

More than 2.2 Billion People Globally Suffer from Preventable Vision Problems

The World Health Organization reports people who live in rural areas, those who are poor, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities

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Globally, Vision, Problems
FILE - A woman gets an eye exam during a clinic at Key Arena, in Seattle, Washington, Oct. 28, 2016. VOA

The World Health Organization reports proper care could have prevented vision impairment or blindness in about half of the more than 2.2 billion people globally who suffer from these conditions. The findings were part of the WHO’s first World Report on Vision that was launched in Geneva in advance of World Sight Day Oct. 10.

The report attributes the increase in worldwide eye problems to an aging population, changing lifestyles, which are leading to a rise in type 2 diabetes, and limited access to eye care in low- and middle-income countries.

The World Health Organization reports people who live in rural areas, those who are poor, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities are among those who suffer most from bad vision.

Technical officer in the WHO’s Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Department, Stuart Keel, says conditions such as shortsightedness and farsightedness, glaucoma and cataracts are about four times higher in the world’s poorer regions than in high-income regions.

 

Globally, Vision, Problems
The report attributes the increase in worldwide eye problems to an aging population, changing lifestyles, which are leading to a rise in type 2 diabetes, and limited access to eye care. Pixabay

“For instance, western and eastern sub-Saharan Africa have vision impairment rates [and] distance vision impairment rates that are eight times higher than all high-income regions. … We know that about 60 percent of all vision impairment cases are found in three Asian regions alone, that being South Asia, East Asia, and South-East Asia,” said Keel.

The WHO says cataract surgery could prevent 65 million people from becoming blind. It says early diagnosis and treatment can improve conditions for many of the 76 million people suffering from glaucoma. And eyeglasses, it says, could vastly improve the eyesight of more than 800 million people who currently live with blurred vision.

Coordinator of the WHO’s Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Department, Alarcos Cieza, told VOA that research indicates that children who spend too much time on their electronics are likely to become visually impaired as they grow older.

“The major concern is that if children do not spend enough time outdoors and too much time indoors looking at their tablets and computers and these activities … they will increase the probability of becoming myopic and also to increase the severity of the myopia,” she said.

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Cieza warns that the more severe the myopia, the more difficult the treatment. Her advice: Children should spend more time outdoors kicking a ball around and less time indoors looking at tablets, television and computers. (VOA)