Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome has been identified as a possible risk factor for optic nerve pathology such as glaucoma, nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy, and optic disk edema. Accordingly, we aimed to evaluate structural changes of the apparently normal optic nerve in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients with effects of its severity.
In this prospective case-control study, 47 eyes of 47 obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients diagnosed with polysomnography and 40 eyes of 40 healthy subjects were included. Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography was used to evaluate the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, optic nerve head topographic parameters, and retinal ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness.
The average peripapillary nerve fiber layer thickness was lower in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients than in controls (90.74 ± 7.98 vs 94.93 ± 6.13 μm;  = 0.008). The average cup/disk ratio and the vertical cup/disk ratio in patients with OSAS were significantly higher compared to the controls (both  < 0.001). However, no significant difference in retinal ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness was found.
Even if the retinal ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thicknesses did not significantly differ between the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and control groups, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients showed a decreased peripapillary nerve fiber layer thickness and increased optic nerve head parameters. These findings can be used as an indicator of optic nerve damage in the early diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients.

References

PubMed