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Are Burning Eyes Keeping You Up at Night?

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Dry eye syndrome can put a damper on your day. The burning, gritty, itchy feeling can be distracting, and often gets progressively worse as day turns to night.

There are several ways to treat the condition, but first, your eye doctor needs to assess your eyes and determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when you do not produce enough tears, the tears are of poor quality, or the tears evaporate too quickly. Several medical conditions and environmental factors like pollution, dry air, and wind can cause dry eye symptoms.

Every time you blink,  your eyelids spread the tears over the cornea. If there are any issues with the quality or quantity of your tears, your cornea will experience irritation and discomfort.

Why Do My Eyes Feel Drier at Night?

Your eyes naturally become drier as the day progresses as the tears evaporate. At night your body temperature drops one to two degrees, causing your metabolism to slow down during sleep. As your body functions slow down, blood circulation slows and therefore fewer nutrients reach the eyes, which then produce fewer tears.

Another cause of nighttime dryness is nocturnal lagophthalmos. This is the inability to close one’s eyelids completely during sleep. The condition is usually caused by a deformity of the eyelid, facial palsy, or incomplete healing from eyelid surgery. Since the surface of your eye is exposed at night it becomes dry. Left untreated, it can damage the eye.

How Can You Put Out the Fire in Your Eyes and Get to Sleep?

Gels and ointments can help prevent dry eye. To preserve moisturizing tears at night, choosing an eye gel or ointment that is meant to coat the eye at night, can help. However, the thickness of the gel can interfere with clear vision and therefore, should be applied at bedtime.

Using over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can be a quick way to relieve burning dry eyes. At Cove Eyecare, Dr. Micheline Young recommends purchasing a brand of artificial tears that is preservative-free, especially if you need to use the eye drops frequently. Another soothing tip is to gently apply cool compresses over your closed eyelids.

If your eyelids don’t close completely, causing dry eye symptoms at night, a sleep mask or eye seal can help to retain moisture on the cornea.

Other solutions to help prevent dry eye is limiting computer time before bed and using a humidifier to add moisture to the environment.

When Are Burning Eyes a Reason to Book an Eye Exam?

The first step toward easing burning eyes is to receive a comprehensive eye exam, so we can determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. We will then recommend the most effective, personalized dry eye treatment for your unique eyes and condition. Remember, no two eyes are the same, so what works for one person may not work for another.

To get a clear diagnosis and treatment for dry eye syndrome, visit Dr. Micheline Young, our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor for a personalized eye exam at Cove Eyecare.


At Cove Eyecare, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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