Non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy is nearly systematically associated with obstructive sleep apnoea

Br J Ophthalmol. 2006 Jul;90(7):879-82. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2005.087452. Epub 2006 Mar 23.


Aim: To evaluate newly diagnosed non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy (NAION) patients for the existence of an associated sleep apnoea syndrome.

Methods: Newly identified NAION patient underwent polysomnography. The prevalence of sleep apnoea in NAION patients was compared to the prevalence previously found in the general population. Hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, and atheromatous lesions of carotid vessels as classic risk factors associated with NAION were also identified.

Results: 27 consecutive newly diagnosed NAION patients (18 men and nine women, mean age 65 (SD 8) years, body mass index 27.2 (3.8) kg/m2) were included in the study. 24 of these 27 NAION patients (89%) exhibited a sleep apnoea syndrome (respiratory disturbance index: 37.2/h (SD 18.3/h). Risk ratio for a NAION patient to have sleep apnoea was 4.9 compared to the general population (p < 0.001). Sleep apnoea was 1.5-2-fold more frequent than the rate of the other identified risk factors typically associated with NAION (hypertension, diabetes).

Conclusions: Sleep apnoea is the most frequent disorder associated with NAION and should be screened in this population. At least a questionnaire related to obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms and assessment of sleepiness should be systematically proposed to patients with NAION.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / physiopathology
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / complications*
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Risk
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric