Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Optic Neuropathy: Is There a Link?

  • Clare L. FraserEmail author
Neuro-Ophthalmology (A Kawasaki, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neuro-Ophthalmology


Over the last decade, there has been an emerging interest in the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and ocular health. Though the evidence for OSA playing a role in cerebrovascular disease risk seems clear, the same cannot be said for optic neuropathies. The association between OSA and glaucoma or non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) has been postulated to be secondary to direct hypoxia or mechanisms of optic nerve head vascular dysregulation. Papilledema and increased intracranial pressure have also been reported in OSA and are thought to be due to increased cerebral perfusion pressure and cerebral venous dilation secondary to hypoxia and hypercapnia. This article reviews the evidence for possible pathophysiological links between OSA and optic nerve pathology. The epidemiologic and clinical evidence for an association, direct or indirect, between OSA and glaucoma, non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), and papilledema or idiopathic intracranial hypertension is presented.


Obstructive sleep apnea Glaucoma Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy Papilledema Disc edema Intracranial hypertension Optic neuropathy 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Clare Fraser declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Save Sight InstituteUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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