Ask The Sleep Doctor – Sleep Apnea and ischemic optic neuropathy

Sleep doctor ready to answer questions

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My eye doctor told me that my optic nerve is showing signs of lack of oxygen. He said the arteries look normal and sleep apnea could be a cause. I told him I snore and he wants me to get a sleep study Have you heard of this?

Sleep Apnea and Optic Neuropathy

Yes, there is a condition called non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy. In recent studies as many as 80% of patients had sleep apnea. It is believed that either nighttime drops in oxygen or drops in blood pressure caused by sleep apnea can be a cause.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Does sleep matter when it comes to weight loss?

Sleep and Weight Loss

Yes, sleep matters. When we do not get enough sleep, we tend to produce excessive amounts of Ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone, and insufficient amounts of Leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone. In addition, those who do not get enough sleep tend to be fatigued and less active. In fact, their couch potato life style may in part be due to insufficient sleep. There is also more time and opportunity to eat.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband has sleep apnea. He cannot tolerate CPAP and an oral appliance did not work for him. I have heard of some type of electrical stimulator of the tongue. Have you any familiarity with this?

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator and Sleep Apnea

Yes, you are talking about the hypoglossal nerve stimulator made by Inspire. They are effective but there are some strict criteria you need to meet before being a candidate. They are also very expensive, so it is not impossible, but certainly not easy to qualify for one. I would recommend your husband discuss this option with a qualified sleep specialist in your area. We have been successful in getting several of our patients treated with these devices.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I have recently been diagnosed with Restless Legs Syndrome. It starts when I get into bed. I was placed on a drug called ropinirole. I take it at bedtime but the pain still lasts for 1 1/2 hours. Any ideas?

RLS and Ropinirole

Yes, this medication takes about 90 minutes to be absorbed and work. Start taking it 90 minutes before you get into bed and I think you will notice a great difference.

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Internal Medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website which offers a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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1 thought on “Ask The Sleep Doctor – Sleep Apnea and ischemic optic neuropathy

  1. Nina McGee Reply

    There are more and more CPAP cleaning machines on the market, some use UV
    light and some use ionization. I can’t find scientific proof that they actually work. Can you offer advice on this?

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