Did you know that some people sleep with their eyes open? The condition is called nocturnal lagophthalmos and it affects about 1 in 20 people. If you wake up every morning with dry painful eyes, you may be experiencing nocturnal lagophthalmos. Let’s talk about sleeping with eyes open treatment, diagnosis, and how you can wake up refreshed while managing nocturnal lagophthalmos.
Sleep with eyes open disorder, nocturnal lagophthalmos, causes pain, blurry vision, dry eye syndrome, and redness
There are four stages of sleep that you cycle through every night with the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase being where you experience vivid dreams. During this phase, your eyes will dart from side to side. You experience up to 6 REM cycles every night. You may not remember your dreams every day but that does not mean you have not dreamed.
The REM phase of sleep is akin to your brain being power washed. Clearing away all the grime (data) that you don’t need. Your memories are cataloged and stored, hormone levels are regulated, proteins are building your muscles, and energy is restored. REM sleep is not only fun as dreams can be fantastical and funny, but dreaming is a vital phase of sleep that keeps your mind and body healthy.
Sleep with eyes open disorder, nocturnal lagophthalmos, may cause pain, blurry vision, dry eye syndrome, and redness. Typically, a partner, friend, or family member will tell you if you’re sleeping with your eyes open but if you’re experiencing these symptoms it’s best to see an eye doctor for a diagnosis. Nocturnal lagophthalmos is a nerve and muscle problem that makes it difficult to close your eyes fully and will have you sleeping with eyes partially open.
Sleep helps flush your eye of debris that has accumulated during the day
While lagophthalmos is a medical condition, many believe that sleeping with your eyes open has a spiritual meaning as well. For example, some people associate sleeping with your eyes open with fear, worry, imbalance, distrust, or seeking clarity and truth. Others believe that sleeping with your eyes open indicates that someone or your guardian angel is watching out for you.
Blinking keeps your eyes moistened and this lubrication keeps your eyes healthy, opening eyes while sleeping deprives your eyes of vital moisture. Sleep helps flush your eye of debris that has accumulated during the day.
Nocturnal lagophthalmos symptoms can include:
Some nocturnal lagophthalmos causes include medical issues relating to facial nerves and muscles. There are some medical conditions that paralyze or weaken the orbicularis oculi, the muscle in charge of opening and closing your eyelid, such as:
Or a side effect of:
Sleep with eyes open disorder is also hereditary. Don’t panic if you think you’re sleeping with eyes partially open; visit your doctor for some diagnostic work to pinpoint the source of your lagophthalmos.
If you have lagophthalmos, you may sleep with your eyes partially open or open about halfway. This generally has the same causes and comes with the same potential complications as sleeping with your eyes completely open. It's more common among young children, who often grow out of condition. However, you should talk to your kids' eye doctor or pediatrician if it causes them discomfort or issues with vision.
Eye moisture is vital to maintain good eye health. If you’re sleeping with eyes partially open every night, your eyelids are unable to create the necessary film of moisture. This can cause some nasty side effects.
Sleep with eyes open disorder potential consequences;
If you suspect you may have nocturnal lagophthalmos, talk to your doctor about treatment options. They may recommend at-home options like wearing eye goggles at night to help retain moisture as you sleep. Your doctor may also suggest:
In severe cases, a gold implant can be sewn into the eyelid. The implant is so thin it is hardly noticeable and could be a viable option if you’re suffering immensely and have tried everything else.
Although rare, sleeping with one eye open is possible. Sleeping with eyes partially open is more likely and called nocturnal lagophthalmos. This can occur in the elderly sleeping with eyes open, toddler sleeping with eyes open, and even babies nocturnal lagophthalmos. It can affect anyone at any age but can be treated.
It is inadvisable to attempt to sleep with your eyes open. Your eyelids do very important work as you sleep, they keep your eyes moist and push dust and debris out, keeping your eyes healthy and clean. Sleeping with eyes partially open is a medical condition called nocturnal lagophthalmos and is treatable.
Sleeping with eyes partially open is a medical condition called nocturnal lagophthalmos and can be unpleasant but treatable. Your doctor may recommend wearing moisture goggles at night, eye drops, or ointment. In severe cases, minor surgery is performed where tiny weights are sewn into the eyelids. These are hardly noticeable but can be an effective treatment.