One of the major symptoms of sleep apnea is loud snoring. In fact, 70% of sleep apnea sufferers snore. Although snoring is a major symptom, recent studies have found that floppy eyelids may also be a sign of sleep apnea. It only makes sense that a bad night of sleep would also leave results in one’s appearance. From dark circles and bags under the eye to floppy eyelids, sleep apnea not only has major effects on one’s health but their appearance. Can doctors use floppy eyelids as a probable symptom of sleep apnea?

Floppy Eyelids and Sleep Apnea

A 2018 study published in The Ocular Surface journal authored by Charles Bouchard, MD and several of his colleagues found that 53% of patients who suffered from sleep apnea also had lax and rubbery upper eyelids. In the most severe cases of sleep apnea, floppy eyelids were present. However, researchers found that the association between the presence of floppy eyelids and the severity of sleep apnea was not statistically significant and would have to be explored by future studies.

Doctors used a measuring device created called a laxometer to measure lax eyelids. In the study, 35 patients were evaluated overnight for suspicions of sleep apnea. Of these patients, 32 of them were confirmed to have sleep apnea. Of the 32 patients with sleep apnea, 17 of them presented a lax eye condition.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear why floppy eyelids are connected to sleep apnea. One possible theory suggests that floppy eyelids are associated with low-grade inflammation. This inflammation causes elastin to degrade. This is the protein that allows tissue and skin to keep their shape after they contract or stretch. If you notice you have floppy eyelids, there’s a chance you have sleep apnea.

Other Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Aside from floppy eyelids and snoring, there are a few other symptoms to look out for that may indicate you have sleep apnea. Another major symptom is feeling tired after a full night of sleep. When someone has sleep apnea, their body repeatedly wakes throughout the night to catch their breath. This prevents them from completing their REM cycles and falling into a deep sleep for long periods of time.

Those with sleep apnea may also experience morning headaches or an inability to concentrate throughout the day. Sleep apnea can really take a toll on mental health from all of the exhaustion. If you find that you snore and feel exhausted throughout the day, don’t hesitate to visit a sleep specialist to be diagnosed.

Once you are diagnosed, Dr. Roubal at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha is happy to recommend the best treatment course for you. We offer custom-made oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea. Oral appliances are more comfortable to wear than traditional CPAP machines. Give us a call at (402) 493-4175 to learn if oral appliance therapy is right for you.