Here’s a sentence not many people can say: my eye doctor diagnosed me with sleep apnea. That’s completely true, although I don’t think I have it and I have no diagnosis yet from someone whose diagnosis might count. I had an eye appointment a couple of weeks ago, as I’m less happy with the long-term results of my LASIK than I feel like I ought to be and requested a consult. My eye doc then proceeded to confuse the crap out of me by asking repeatedly if I’d ever been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or if I had experienced various and sundry symptoms of sleep apnea, or if I’d ever had a sleep study done.
The answer to all of these questions was no. I absolutely utterly completely can not fall asleep on my back, and am an occasional mild snorer according to my wife, but that’s it. It turns out, though, that I have a severe case of something called “floppy eyelid syndrome,” which I did a GIS for to grab an image for this post and which you should absolutely not do a GIS for. Basically what this means is that my eyelids stretch way more than a normal person’s, which sounds like it shouldn’t be a thing, but it is. I can basically expose the entire orb of my eye if I want to, which I don’t, but it’s possible. And it turns out that you’re not supposed to be able to do that, and it’s not just a party trick, it’s a syndrome.
That’s not the weird thing, though. The weird thing is that floppy eyelid syndrome is very highly correlated with sleep apnea. Nearly 100%, in fact: in other words, nearly 100% of people with floppy eyelid syndrome also have sleep apnea, to the point where it’s actually used as a diagnostic marker for sleep apnea. So my eye doctor suggested I talk to my GP, and as it turned out I had already scheduled a doctor’s appointment a few days later, and my GP shrugged and went ahead and scheduled me for the study, which insurance then denied.
Like, I would like to be able to sleep on my back, but not at the expense of having to strap a CPAP machine to my face while I’m sleeping. My stomach or my side work just fine, thanks. But at the same time I feel like I ought to take this seriously in case it becomes a Thing later on, right? So if they tell me to do a home sleep study, whatever that is, I’ll do it. And in the meantime, I guess I’ll refrain from pulling my eyelids back any further than I need to to put my eyedrops in.