SLEEP IMPROVES DRY EYES By Dr. James Ivanoski, Optometrist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Sleep problems affect many: either not being able to get to sleep, not being able to stay asleep, being sleepy during the day, and/or breathing problems such as sleep apnea during the night. They affect how you feel the next day and how productive you can be. Dry eyes are an even more common annoyance. The symptoms of dry eyes generally include a sandy sensation or the feeling that there is something in your eyes. Blurred near vision, especially towards the end of the day or with computer use, is also frequently noticed. A new study has now linked the two.
Published in the medical journal Investigative Ophthalmology in May, a study out of Singapore found that insomnia, sleep apnea and reduced hours of sleep per night were all associated with an increase in the severity of dry eye symptoms. They used a number of well-known questionnaires to assess the sleep patterns of over 3 thousand people and then obtained a detailed history of their dry eye symptoms. Most of the sleep issues noted above were associated with at least a 70% increase in dry eye symptoms.
What can you do about it? You can consult your primary care physician about further evaluation and treatment of your sleep issues. They can determine if further testing is indicated or if changes in your medications are recommended. In the mean time you can treat your dry eyes with artificial tears. If you are using the tears more than 4 times per day be sure to use the preservative-free type that come in individual vials so as not to cause more eye irritation. There are prescription medications for dry eyes if tears do not work. We can discuss those and other options at your next eye examination. Call for a sooner appointment if your symptoms of dry eyes are not improving.
Dr. Ivanoski is an optometrist practicing at Madison Medical Eye Care with Drs. Martha Jay and Lisa Bennett. 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.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.