Dry eyes, particularly in the morning, is a common occurrence. This is something that can happen to people of any age group but elderly and diabetic people are more likely to fall victim to it. The moment you wake up, it seems hard to open your eyes. Some other symptoms may include itch, irritation, redness and burning of eyes. Let’s find out why.
Why Am I Waking Up with Dry Eyes?
Wrong Sleeping Position
Sometimes when you sleep with your face squeezed against the pillow, the movement of your face may stretch the eyelids from eyeballs and you get dry eyes when you wake up. Besides that, sleeping right under the fan (air blowing right in your face) or in an air-conditioned room can also result in sticky and dry eyes in the morning.
Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
It’s a syndrome that affects the productivity of tears in the eyes that ultimately leads to dry eye syndrome. It might accompany other symptoms like burning and itching of eyes.
Smoke, low-humidity, chemicals, fumes and heat also contribute in waking up with dry eyes. People living in the city area with polluted environment (opposite to rural areas with less pollution) are more likely to experience this particular eye condition.
Side Effects of Some Medications
Many times, ingesting of certain medicines at bed time, particularly allergy tablets like Claritin and Zyrtec, may cause side effects like reduced tear production. Furthermore, using eyedrops for allergic reactions may also cause dry eyes temporarily.
Long Term Wearing of Contact Lenses
People who wear contact lenses for a long time (even while sleeping) and barely care for its hygiene, are quite likely to experience their eyes glued together after waking up.
In women, hormonal change (due to menopause, birth control pills, pregnancy, HRT hormone replacement therapy) is the biggest reason of dry eyes.
When people age, the natural level of oil, water, mucus and tear production in the eyes is reduced and they often experience dry and crusty eyelids after waking up.
This condition occurs when you can’t close the eyelids. It causes your eyes to remain exposed to the air throughout the night and may result in dryness of cornea. As a result, you suffer waking up with dry eyes. If that happens to you, sleep with blindfold on your eyes. Besides that, using some ointment before going to bed, helps in alleviating the dryness in the morning.
Blepharitis (Bacterial Infection)
Staph epidermidis is a skin bacteria that might cause irritation and dryness (blepharitis) in your eyes. The most common signs of blepharitis include—sticky and sore eyelids and gunky and crusty lashes.
Reduced Blinking Before Bed
When you keep your eyes constantly at work in the activities that cause reduced blinking of eyes (like watching TV, reading, using your computer or mobile), your eyes may get dry after waking up.
How to Deal with Dry Eyes
There are a number of ways to relieve the dryness of eyes in the morning. These may include;
Don’t forget to drink a glass of water before going to bed. It would help keeping your whole system hydrated and may help in alleviating dry eyes.
If you experience gunk or crust around your eyes in the morning, using a warm compress helps in removing that substance released from eyes.
Make sure to not indulge in any activities that involve a lesser blinking of eyes, especially before going to bed. And if you do that, don’t forget to blink frequently.
Do not sleep in a room that is overly-warm. A room with increased humidity level should be preferred.
Don’t smoke or don’t be around the people who smoke.
Using an eye gel or ointment (just a small amount) before sleeping may save you from waking up with dry eyes.
For sticky eyes in the morning, massage your lids gently using the lower part of your palms. It would help in breaking the adhesions.
Add healthy dietary options like omega 3 fatty acids to your diet (supplements or food).
Fruits enriched with vitamin C are good for eyes’ health. The best options for healthy eyes include—blueberries, blackcurrant and oranges.
Don’t forget to wear sunglasses before going outside. It is a good way to avoid sun exposure and dry wind.