Sleep Apnea and Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

by Kato
(Page, Arizona)

I recently went to a Ophthalmologist to get an eye exam due to a Blindness Disease called "star Guards" My Grandmother, Father and Niece have all went blind due to this disease. This is hereditary and I was worried when I was getting what looks like fatty pockets on my eyes.

I went to the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah to see a Specialist that was familiar with "Star Gaurds." To my relief i do not have "Star Gaurds" but he diagnosed my with severe Obstructive sleep apnea.

The fatty tissue on my eyes were from what's called FES. (Floppy Eyelid Syndrome). It is due from the lack of oxygen to the eye lids. Fatty tissue from the back of the eye has worked it way forward and is visible to anyone looking you in the eye!

Anyway my question is this, How long does it take to get to this stage of OSA? I have since went to do some sleep studies and i do have severe OSA.

My pressure is set at 18, and apneas every 51 seconds. I worked shift work while in the navy back in 1982 and that's when the snoring started. I have talked with several Medical Professionals and little is know about FES. Even the Sleep Center staff did not know. Can this be ongoing since 1982?


I can say that you are one of the few unlucky ones who have sleep apnea and Floppy Eyelid Syndrome. Researchers found several associations between sleep apnea and eye diseases, including floppy eyelid syndrome.

What is Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES)?

This disorder causes eyelids to turn inside out during sleep, resulting in discomfort, shedding tears, blurred vision. It is associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Read here the Clinical Study.

Although FES is common in middle-aged obese men, researchers discovered an association with obstructive sleep apnea. And they discovered that only 4.5%–5.0% of those with OSA have floppy eyelid syndrome, even though OSA is seen in 96%–100% of patients with FES. Here is the clinical study about the related association.

You can read in this study that the treatment for sleep apnea can also treat FES. And the sooner, the better. Delaying the treatment can have late corneal complications that can your compromise vision. Read this article to learn more.

Unfortunately, I can't say too many things about floppy eyelid syndrome. This is new to me, too. Believe, I searched many books about sleep apnea before writing this answer, and I couldn't find anything related to FES. It seems that the association with OSA is new for doctors, too.

But one thing is certain: the specialist from Moran Eye Center may saved your eyes and life, making this association. Because you'll treat the real cause of FES, which is OSA.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Apnea Help Line.

Share this page:
Enjoy this sleep apnea page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.