Are You Sleeping With Your Eyes Open?
Here’s How It Happens and Why!
Did you know that some people sleep with their eyes open? It’s true! The National Sleep Foundation predicts that around 1 in every 5 people sleeps with their eyes open as a result of a common condition known as nocturnal lagophthalmos.
This condition causes a person to be unable to close their eyes completely while they sleep. Rather, the eyes are left partially open, causing severe dry eyes over the course of the night. It can also lead to blurry or double vision and eye strain, as well as eye infections and corneal damage from foreign objects that may get into your eye while you sleep.
What Are The Common Causes of Nocturnal Lagophthalmos?
Nocturnal Lagophthalmos is often a sign of other underlying issues. Below are some of the most common types of issues that cause this condition.
Problems with facial nerves and muscles can prevent the muscles around the eyes from functioning properly, resulting in the eyes not properly or fully closing while sleeping. This can be caused by factors such as:
- Autoimmune disorders and infections, such as Lyme disease
- Damage to the eyelids from injury, sickness or surgery
- Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary paralysis or weakness of facial muscles
- Sleep apnea connected to eye diseases such as optic neuropathy and glaucoma
Thyroid-Related Eye Problems, such as grave’s disease, a common form of hypothyroidism, can cause the eyes to slightly protrude from their sockets. protruding eyes. Known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, this can prevent the eyes from closing properly.
Genetics can also cause nocturnal lagophthalmos, with the condition being passed down from parents to children.
Can Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Be Treated?
Depending on the underlying cause, there are several possible treatment options available for this condition. These include:
- Artificial tears or prescription eye drops.
- Wearing an eye cover or goggles to keep the eyes from drying out
- Using a humidifier while you sleep
- Surgery, in extreme cases
For more information on Nocturnal Lagophthalmos and how our eye care team at can help, contact us today!
Can Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Prevent Me From Sleeping?
No. Nocturnal Lagothalmos does not prevent you from being able to sleep. However, common symptoms of this condition, such as dry, itchy, irritated eyes, can make your sleep more restless. This can cause you to wake up the next morning feeling less rested.
Can Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Cause Blindness?
Yes. In extreme cases, the dry eye caused by this condition can cause optical ulcers and damage to the cornea that can eventually result in blindness. This may also happen as a result of infection from foreign objects that are not properly flushed from the eye while sleeping.