Do You Sleep With Your Eyes Partially Open?
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling like your eyes are dry, tired, and/or itchy? That’s normal occasionally, but if it happens often you may be having a problem with nocturnal lagophthalmos–sleeping with your eyes partially (or fully) open.
It may just sound like a bizarre little quirk, but it could potentially lead to major problems with your eye health.
Why Does This Occur?
Lagophthalmos is defined as a condition where one’s eyelids can’t close enough to cover the eye completely. The term nocturnal lagophthalmos is used to describe the condition when it occurs while you’re sleeping. It can be caused by conditions such as stroke, trauma, cosmetic surgery, skin conditions, facial nerve palsies, Bell’s palsy, or thyroid disease. Sometimes it’s hereditary. If children experience it, they often grow out of it.
“How Can I Know If I Have This Condition?”
Most people wouldn’t know they have this condition because 1) they’ve probably never heard of or suspected it, and 2) how would they watch themselves sleeping, right? That’s where you need another person to check your eyes in the middle of the night if you suspect this condition. Have your helper estimate how far open your eyelids are so that you can let us know when you visit us.
Long-Term, Lagophthalmos Can Be Harmful To Your Eyes
Moisture is essential for your healthy eyesight. Tears form a protective barrier over the surface of your eyes, cleaning and restoring the cornea. Initially, lagophthalmos may be merely irritating. You may experience dry eye symptoms and excessive tearing. Maybe some blurriness in your vision as well.
But when you go too long, you can experience scratching, infection, and scarring on the surface of your eye. All of these are problems that can severely and permanently hurt your vision.
Learn More About Dry Eyes
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Treat Lagophthalmos Before It Becomes A Problem
There are a few really easy things you can try out for yourself to protect your eyes. You might consider wearing an eye mask at night. Some patients even tape down their eyelids to sleep. We can prescribe some artificial tear drops which you can use at night and in the morning to keep your eyes well lubricated.
In serious cases, there are some surgical options. If you suspect you have this condition, please talk to us! We can help you determine what’s best for you.
Thanks for being our valued patient and friend. Please share this information with someone you care about!