Burning the candle at both ends? Neglecting your sleep can have an adverse effect on your vision and your eyes by worsening dry eye symptoms. Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common reasons for a visit to an eye doctor, affecting 3.25 million women in the US over the age of 50. A recent study showed that sleep deprivation can lead to worsening dry eye symptoms.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include feeling like there is something in your eye, blurred vision and excessive tearing. The last symptom, tearing, is what gets patients confused. “I thought my eyes were too wet”, is the usual comment. Your tear film is made up of oil, water and mucus. If your mixture of the three is abnormal, it poorly covers the surface of the eye leaving dry spots. The tiny nerve endings in the surface of the eye (the cornea) detect the problem and send out more, poor quality tears resulting in the annoying drip down your face. This problem is particularly noticeable at the end of the day, after reading or using a computer, in winter or when you are out in the wind.
The study published in the medical journal Investigative Ophthalmology last summer divided a group of 20 healthy individuals into two groups: one stayed up all night and the other had an 8 hour sleep period. The “all nighters” had very salty tears which poorly covered their eyes. Their eyes were uncomfortable and their vision blurred.
The lesson here is that your eyes need rest too, especially if you already have dry eye symptoms or wear contact lenses. Should adequate rest not solve your dry eye symptoms, however, we are here to help.
Dr. Mark German is an optometrist practicing with Dr. Martha Jay at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals. He specialized in comprehensive eye care, especially for those interested in contact lenses who have had problems getting the appropriate fit in the past. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.