Waking Up With Dry Eyes: Why, Prevention & All The Answers You Need

Do you wake up with dry eyes? You’re not alone. Nearly everyone has woken up with dry eyes at some point.

While it’s a relatively minor annoyance for most, for people who suffer from chronic dry eye, it can be a major hindrance to their day-to-day lives.

Dry eye can make it difficult to read, work on a computer, or even drive. And the condition is only expected to get worse as the population continues to age.

In fact, according to the Dry Eye Directory, over 49 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. While it can occur at any age, it’s most common in those over age 50.

Dry eyes are a common problem for many people. Yet while the condition can be debilitating, it is also easily treatable. In this article, we will take a look at what causes dry eyes, why you’re waking up with dry eyes, how to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place, and some of the treatments available.

Waking Up WITH dRY Eyes: Why?

Waking up with dry eyes in the morning can be incredibly frustrating.

They make it difficult to get started with your day and can be a constant reminder that you aren’t feeling well. But what causes them in the first place?

There are actually many potential things that can cause you to wake up with dry eyes, including ageing, certain medications, problems with the tear film production or drainage, and environmental factors.

Let’s take a closer look at those underlying causes next, so you can work out what’s causing you to wake up with dry eyes in the morning.

1. Nocturnal lagophthalmos

As many as 1 in 9 adults may suffer from a condition known as nocturnal lagophthalmos (NL). People with NL do not close their eyes completely while they sleep, which can cause their corneas to become dry.

The result? They often experience vision problems and dry eyes when waking up. That’s because the oil glands around the eyes stop secreting oil while people are asleep, leading to a lack of lubrication on the eye’s surface.

The condition can cause discomfort and ultimately even problems with vision. Symptoms of NL include eye irritation, redness, blurred vision, and excessive tearing, as well as waking up with dry eyes.

2. Tear Quality

Dry eyes can be a chronic problem, and an important part of treatment is to identify and avoid the triggers that cause them.

One common trigger for dry eyes is actually tear quality. Tears are made up of three layers: the lipid (oil) layer, the aqueous (water) layer, and the mucous layer. Of these, the lipid layer is the most important for tear stability.

If the lipid layer is disrupted, tears will evaporate more quickly, leading to dry eyes. It is crucial to identify any factors that might be causing dry eyes.

3. Insufficient Tear Production at Night

Dry eyes can be caused by insufficient tear production which basically means a lack of tears. That’s notable as tears are needed to lubricate and protect the eyes.

Tears are produced by the lacrimal gland, which is located in the upper eyelid. If the gland doesn’t produce enough tears, or if the tears evaporate too quickly, dry eyes can develop.

4. Medical Conditions such as Thyroid Disease & Diabetes

Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s Syndrome can all cause dry eyes.

If you are experiencing dry eyes or waking up with dry eyes, it is important to see your doctor and get the condition treated – especially as it could be part of an underlying medical condition. Left untreated, dry eyes can lead to eye infections and other vision problems.

5. Medications

Certain medications can cause your eyes to produce fewer tears, which can then lead to dry eyes. While some medications can cause the eyes to produce fewer tears, others can even reduce the quality of tears.

One common type of medication that can cause dry eyes is antihistamines. Antihistamines are used to treat allergies and work by blocking histamine, which is a chemical that your body releases in response to allergens.

Some of the other medications that could cause you to wake up with dry eyes may include birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. If you are taking any of these medications and are experiencing dry eyes, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

6. Dehydration

Dehydration is a common and often overlooked cause of dry eyes. When you’re dehydrated, your eyes don’t produce tears as effectively, which can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including dry eyes.

There are several things that can cause you to wake up with dry eyes, including ageing, underlying medical conditions, dehydration, certain medications, environmental factors, too much screen time and even Vitamin A deficiency.

Symptoms Of Waking Up With Dry Eyes

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from dry eyes, you know how debilitating it can be.

As we’ve explained, dry eyes are a common problem that can be caused by many things, including age, environment, and medications.

Symptoms of dry eyes usually include eye fatigue, burning, itching, redness, blurred vision, mucus in or around the eyes, abnormally watery eyes and a feeling of something in your eye. In some cases, dry eyes can also lead to more serious problems like infection and scarring of the cornea.

How Can You Prevent Waking Up With Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can be a huge annoyance and can make it difficult to start your day. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help prevent them.

First, make sure you drink plenty of water as dehydration can lead to dry eyes.

Second, wear sunglasses when you’re outside. UV rays can also cause dry eyes.

Third, you should also make sure that you are not using a computer, phone, or other electronic devices for extended periods before bed. The blue light from screens can aggravate dry eyes, so try to avoid using them in the hours leading up to bedtime. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to remove them at night and give your eyes a chance to rest.

There’s a few other things you can do to prevent waking up with dry eyes. For example, make sure that you blink regularly throughout the day. You can also use artificial tears or a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. And if you spend long hours looking at a screen, it is important to take breaks every twenty minutes.

A warm compress can also help with dry eyes. Place a warm, damp cloth over your eyes for five minutes. Do this two or three times a day. Lastly, if needed, use artificial tears or saline solution to lubricate your eyes.

Treatment For Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be a chronic condition for some people that might require treatment. Some treatments are designed to correct the underlying cause of dry eyes, while others are aimed at relieving the symptoms.

Some common treatments for dry eyes include artificial tears, medicated eye drops, eyelid hygiene, and nutritional supplements.

Treatment for dry eyes may include:

Artificial tears: Artificial tears are a common treatment for dry eyes. They help to lubricate and moisten the eyes. Artificial tears come in both prescription and over-the-counter forms.

Rest: Get plenty of rest. When you’re tired, your eyes tend to produce fewer tears.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help to lubricate the eyes and may improve symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

If you have dry eyes, it’s important to see your doctor to determine the cause and to get the best treatment. While the case of waking up with dry eyes may just be dehydration or too much screen time, it could also be caused by an underlying health condition.

Our Final Thoughts: Waking Up With Dry Eyes

Waking up with dry eyes can be a frustrating problem to deal with. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can also interfere with your daily activities.

In this article, we discussed the causes of dry eyes and some of the treatments that are available. We have also provided some tips on how to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place. If you’ve been experiencing dry eyes for a long time, you should consult a doctor to determine the root cause.

Thanks for reading!