eCite Digital Repository

Associations between optic disc measures and obstructive sleep apnea in young adults


Lee, SSY and McArdle, N and Sanfilippo, PG and Yazar, S and Eastwood, PR and Hewitt, AW and Li, Q and Mackey, DA, Associations between optic disc measures and obstructive sleep apnea in young adults, Ophthalmology, 126, (10) pp. 1372-1384. ISSN 0161-6420 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.04.041


Purpose: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is linked to increased glaucoma risk in middle-aged and older adults. However, little is known about associations between OSA and glaucoma-related optic disc parameters in young adults. We explored associations between overnight polysomnography-derived measures of OSA and the optic disc in young adults.

Design: Cross-sectional cohort study.

Participants: Eight hundred forty-eight adults 19 to 22 years of age.

Methods: Participants underwent an ophthalmic examination that included OCT imaging of the optic disc and measurements of intraocular pressure, axial length, and refractive error. Participants then underwent an overnight polysomnography study that obtained measurements of apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), peripheral oxygen saturation level, and number of cortical arousals from sleep. Based on the AHI results, participants were grouped into no OSA (AHI < 5 events/hour), mild OSA (AHI ≥ 5 and <15 events/hour), moderate OSA (AHI ≥ 15 and <30 events/hour), or severe OSA (AHI ≥ 30 events/hour).

Main Outcome Measures: Neuroretinal rim area, horizontal and vertical widths, and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness.

Results: The median AHI result across the study cohort was 2.2 events per hour (interquartile range, 1.0-4.4 events/hour). Based on the AHI results, 178 participants (21.0%) demonstrated OSA: 150 with mild OSA, 26 with moderate OSA, and 2 with severe OSA. In the unadjusted analyses, participants with OSA on average showed thinner peripapillary RNFL at the inferotemporal (P = 0.026) and superotemporal (P = 0.008) segments compared with those without OSA. Additionally, higher AHI results were associated with thinner RNFL superotemporally (P = 0.007). These findings remained significant after adjusting for gender, body mass index, ethnicity, and potential ocular confounders. There were no significant differences in optic disc measures between groups of OSA severity.

Conclusions: Obstructive sleep apnea may be associated with preclinical thinning of the peripapillary RNFL in young adults. This suggests that an increased glaucoma risk already may be present in individuals with OSA since young adulthood. Long-term follow-up of this cohort will allow further optic disc changes in relationship to polysomnography parameters to be documented and associations with future glaucoma diagnosis to be explored.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Ophthalmology and optometry
Research Field:Ophthalmology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hewitt, AW (Professor Alex Hewitt)
UTAS Author:Mackey, DA (Professor David Mackey)
ID Code:134041
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-07-23
Last Modified:2022-08-29

Repository Staff Only: item control page