To study the effects of mean apnea-hypopnea duration (MAD), a useful indicator of blood oxygenation, on peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), macular ganglion cell to inner plexiform layer (GC-IPL) and macular retinal thickness in patients with obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS).
Sixty-five patients recently diagnosed with OSAHS and 35 healthy individuals were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. OSAHS patients were divided according to their MAD values into group 1 with 16 participants (MAD:10-15.5 s), group 2 with 17 participants (MAD:15.5-19 s), group 3 with 17 participants (MAD:19-30 s) and group 4 with 15 participants (MAD > 30 s). The average and sectorial values of RNFL, GC-IPL and retinal thickness were measured by SS-OCT (DRI OCT Triton, Topcon). Intraocular pressure was recorded by Goldmann Applanation and Pascal Dynamic Contour Tonometer (DCT-IOP).
The average RNFL and retinal thickness values were higher in group 4, but did not reach statistical significance. With the exception of the central 1 mm at the fovea, GC-IPL was always thickened in group 4, and significant differences were evident when its average value was compared with group 2 (p = 0.03), its superior and inferior-nasal values were compared with group 2 (p = 0.02, p = 0.006, respectively) and group 3 (p = 0.01, p = 0.02, respectively), its superior-temporal value was compared with group 3 (p = 0.003) and the control group (p = 0.03), and its superior-nasal value was compared with group 2 (p = 0.03), group 3 (p = 0.001) and the control group (p = 0.03). DCT-IOP was significantly positively correlated with the duration of sleep in which oxygen saturation (SaO ) was decreased under 90% (r = 0.359, p = 0.01).
We report a novel observation of GC-IPL thickening in OSAHS patients experiencing long MAD, a parameter which incorporates the severity of breathing events during sleep. Higher DCT-IOP was noted with advancing hypoxemia.