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​“The Air Leak Irritates My Eyes.” #CPAP #AirLeak

Posted by Yatin J. Patel, MD MBA. Medical Director, Sneeze & Snooze Clinic, Goshen & Mishawaka, Indiana on

red eye 2

Today in our clinic, a sleep apnea patient in his 40s, a welder, complained that he wakes up with red eyes because of the air leaking into his eyes.

The commonest cause of this is a poorly fitting nasal mask. If the mask is too big and reaches lower eyelid, it has the potential of leaking the air into the eye. This may not happen when you first put the mask on, but later on as the pressure on your CPAP machine increases during REM sleep, the air can leak out into the eyes.

A few patients have learned to readjust the mask at night, but can be an irritating problem if it occurs frequently. You can talk to our medical assistant and try a smaller mask or a different mask or even a nasal pillow to eliminate this air leak.

Connie, our medical assistant, showed him the  Dreamwear nasal interface, but this patient was concerned about trying it because of his mouth breathing. Connie convinced him to try it with a chin strap. It worked. He loved it although it did take some getting used to wearing the chin strap.

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Dust, pet dander, and mold allergies can also irritate your eyes. We can do a simple, painless skin testing and then can discuss strategies to minimize exposure to these allergens. There are over the counter allergy medications that can help. We also prescribe the allergy eye drops for our patients for nightly use.

Please do not let the air leak or allergies prevent you from using CPAP. Talk to your doctor or to us and get them treated so that you can wake up with lasting energy and enthusiasm every morning. 

Peace. Bliss. Awake.

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