Read more about Dry Eye in the Morning

Waking up with dry eyes is a common issue that can interfere with the start of your day. If you find yourself rubbing your eyes in discomfort as you rise, it's worth investigating the causes and considering treatment options. In this extended blog, we'll not only identify the reasons for early morning eye dryness but also offer actionable solutions tailored for you.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is more than just a temporary inconvenience. It's a chronic condition where your eyes either don't produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. This imbalance can lead to a range of symptoms, including redness, itchiness, and a feeling like there's something stuck in your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 5 million Americans aged 50 years and older suffer from dry eyes.

Lagophthalmos: More Than Just A Hard-to-Pronounce Word

If you wake up with dry eyes, lagophthalmos could be a likely cause. In people with this condition, the eyelids don't fully close during sleep, leaving the lower part of the eye exposed to air and susceptible to dryness. A study from the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that lagophthalmos affects approximately 5% of the population, and it can occur due to various factors, such as Bell's palsy or other nerve conditions.

Nighttime Remedies: Go Beyond Regular Drops with Gel Drops

Standard eye drops might provide relief during the day, but they might not be effective throughout the night due to their lower viscosity. Gel drops, on the other hand, are thicker and adhere to the eye's surface for a longer time, making them ideal for overnight use. These can be particularly useful for people with lagophthalmos, as they provide a protective layer that lasts for several hours.

For Severe Cases: Consider Lacri-Lube Ointment

If gel drops are not enough, a more viscous ointment might be your next step. Products like Lacri-Lube are designed to provide long-lasting relief by forming a seal over the eye. These ointments are often petroleum-based, making them water-resistant and particularly effective for severe cases of dry eyes. Make sure to consult with your eye doctor before transitioning to an ointment, as it's crucial to match the treatment to the severity of your condition.

Additional Treatments: More than Just DIY Solutions

Beyond over-the-counter products, there are other strategies you can employ. Taping your eyelids closed while you sleep can directly address the issue of lagophthalmos by ensuring your eyes stay fully closed. Alternatively, applying a warm compress to your eyes before bedtime can help to relax the muscles around the eyelids. This has dual benefits: it encourages your eyelids to close fully, and it can also stimulate the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes, improving the quality of your tears.

Get Your Dry Eyes Evaluated

Given the multiple factors that can contribute to dry eyes, a comprehensive evaluation by an eye care professional is crucial. During the visit, tests can be conducted to measure both the quantity and quality of your tears. Your eyelids, cornea, and even the skin around your eyes may also be examined to get a full picture of your eye health.

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