The Structure/Function Conundrum
- Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease causing the loss of retinal ganglion cells
- Ganglion cell numbers range from approximately .7 million to 1.5 million
- Density is greatest in the macula where the ganglion cell layer can be 6 cells deep
- The thinnest and densest layer of ganglion cells is in a 1 to 1.5 mm radius of the fovea
Sleep apnea is a systemic disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, usually with 10 to 60 second interruptions. “Apnea” is Greek for “without breath.” Each pause in breathing is an “apnea”, and each low breathing event is referred to as a hypopnea. When oxygen saturation in the blood drops below a critical level, the brain signals the body to “wake up” and take a deep breath, thus preventing deep sleep. While seemingly innocuous and more annoying to the bed partner than the patient (the sufferer is almost never aware during sleep), sleep apnea represents a genuine threat to both systemic and ocular health because of the associated compromise of oxygen flow to end organs.
A sample Word document (editable) that you can use in your own office. It details the ocular manifestations of sleep apnea.