Sleep apnea and dry eye: how sleep apnea affects the eye surface Original research study

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Catherina M. Bommert
Christina N. Grupcheva
Mladena N. Radeva
Dimitar I. Grupchev
Maria R. Boyadzieva


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of dry eye disease and possible treatment options in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and continuous positive airway pressure.

Materials and methods: A total of 72 patients (midlife age) with obstructive sleep apnea and continuous positive airway pressure therapy underwent a comprehensive eye examination. Fluorescein staining of the anterior ocular surface and tear break-up test were performed. All of the patients who were diagnosed with dry eye disease received personalized therapy. One month later, re-examination was performed using the same methodology and clinical settings.

Results: On the first examination, 48 of 72 patients (66.67%) were diagnosed with dry eye disease. Floppy eyelid syndrome was reported in 26 patients (54.17%) with dry eye disease. The treatment of 40 patients included artificial tear supplements during the day in combination with high-viscosity topical gels before bedtime. In more severe cases (10.42% of all participants), the application of bandage contact lenses for 3 months was necessary. Because of excessive lid laxity, surgical reconstruction of the eyelids was performed in three patients (6.25%).

Conclusions: A multidisciplinary approach is essential for obstructive sleep apnea. Practitioners from different specialties must be well acquainted with risk factors, signs, and symptoms. The early detection of dry eye disease in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and appropriate treatments are important for improving the quality of life in this patient group.

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How to Cite
Bommert CM, Grupcheva CN, Radeva MN, Grupchev DI, Boyadzieva MR. Sleep apnea and dry eye: how sleep apnea affects the eye surface. Ophthatherapy [Internet]. 2020Jun.30 [cited 2020Oct.27];7(2):103-7. Available from:
Conservative treatment


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