To evaluate the possible involvement of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in retinal vein occlusion (RVO).
From the medical records of 63 consecutive patients with RVO, 30 patients with 2 of the 3 following risk factors for OSA were selected for further screening from February 1, 2008, through March 31, 2009: associated cardiovascular disease, snoring, or daytime sleepiness.
Of the 30 selected patients, 23 (77%) had OSA. If all 33 of the unscreened patients did not have OSA, the OSA prevalence would have been 37%. Among the patients with OSA, the mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 21; OSA was mild (AHI <15) in 13 patients, moderate in 5 patients (AHI 15-30), and severe (AHI >30) in 5 patients. The AHI was correlated with body mass index (P = .02).
We found a higher than expected prevalence of OSA in a series of patients with RVO. Our findings suggest that OSA could be an additional risk factor that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of RVO or at least that it is a frequently associated condition that could be a triggering factor. This association may explain why most patients discover visual loss on awakening. It is too early to assess whether OSA treatment could improve visual outcome of RVO, but it seems vital to recognize OSA in RVO for the general health of the patient.