Diabetic Patients with Sleep Apnea Can Have Blindness: Study

Anju Bisht

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The study claims, the developmental risk of diabetic macular edema is severe sleep apnea. Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss or blindness. Researches said diabetic macular edema is more difficult to treat in patients with severe sleep apnea. Diabetic Retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness.


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When there is poor control over the blood sugar levels due to diabetes, tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye can get damaged or tiny bulges that peek from the blood vessels, leaking fluid and blood into the retina. So the fluid can cause swelling or edema in an area of the retina that allows us to see clearly.


The researchers find “Diabetic Retinopathy” development and worsening can be the contribution of sleep apnea due to the increased insulin resistance, elevating inflammation and raising blood pressure, all of which can damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye.


Based on the researcher’s findings, the rate of severe sleep apnea was notably higher in patients with diabetic macular edema compared to those without diabetic macular edema (ie., 80.6 percent vs. 45.5 percent).


Also, the worse their sleep apnea, the worse was their macular edema. Severe sleep apnea was more prevalent in patients that need more treatment to control their macular edema.


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