How Sleep Affects Eye Health

October 30, 2020

Have you ever noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep, your eyes feel uncomfortable before you go to bed or the day after when you wake up? This is a normal biological response to sleep deprivation, but it can have some serious consequences for your sight. Our bodies need quality sleep in order to function properly, because they heal and regenerate overnight. Our eyes especially revitalize when we sleep, so it’s important that quality sleep becomes a part of your lifestyle.

Lack of Sleep And Eye Health

Most physicians agree that getting 7-9 hours of sleep is appropriate for many adults, though every adult’s sleep needs are different. But with the world as busy as it is today, that’s often difficult to accomplish. Not only does a lifestyle of little sleep have ramifications for day-to-day life, it can also lead to long-term vision problems. Sleep deprivation can result in multiple unhealthy eye conditions, such as:

  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Eye spasms or twitches (myokymia)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Vision impairment
  • Sunken eyes with dark circles under them
  • Eye infections

These eye conditions triggered by a lack of sleep can also create risk factors for eye diseases. Glaucoma , according to recent studies, is another disease that may worsen from sleep deprivation. A disease of the optic nerve, this is a condition in which too much pressure builds up in the eye. If the optic nerve is not given adequate time to rest, it will begin to wear down. This can lead to progressive vision loss and even blindness.

Sleep apnea is also a risk factor for developing glaucoma, so if your sleep is disrupted by this condition, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor about treatment options.

Ways to Improve Sleep & Eye Health

There are many ways in which you can simultaneously improve your quality of sleep and your eye health.

Regulate Screen Use

Many people use their smartphones and other electronic devices up until or even after the moment they lay their head on their pillow. The blue tint and bright, flickering nature of screen light can harm your sight and impact your ability to fall asleep, especially in a dark room. Not only do the colors and lights of digital screens overstimulate the eyes (causing digital eye strain), they also affect the production of melatonin in your brain, the chemical that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. In fact, many physicians recommend shutting off all digital screens half an hour to two hours before bedtime, as this gives your eyes and brain an opportunity to wind down for the evening.

Take Out Your Contacts

Contact lens companies have developed contacts that you can keep in while you sleep. This is usually meant as a precaution for taking naps, travelling or accidentally falling asleep with the lenses still in your eyes. However, your eyes draw oxygen directly from the air to stay healthy and moist, even during sleep. Making a habit of keeping contact lenses in your eyes can block much-needed oxygen flow.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise has positive effects on every aspect of your well-being, including your eye health. When your blood gets pumping, it stimulates your blood vessels and organs, including your eyes, helping them stay functional and healthy over time. Exercise also helps maintain an equilibrium of chemicals and fluids in your body, including the melatonin that helps you fall asleep. When you exercise regularly, you’re more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, and your eyes will reap the health benefits of both sleep and your workouts.

Set A Schedule

Adding a little extra structure to your lifestyle can make a world of difference in your health. This is definitely true for creating a set sleep schedule, in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Once your body has acclimated to the boundaries set by a sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm (the natural sleep/wake cycle within your body that is often linked to the rising and setting of the sun) will acclimate to it and help keep you healthy overall. Staying up too late can irritate the eyes, and in fact, noticing that your eyes feel tired or dry at the end of the day can be a good indicator that it’s time to hit the hay.

We Can Help

Getting adequate sleep is important for keeping your eyes healthy. If you’re experiencing sleep-related health issues, talk to your doctor about potential treatments and other solutions. However, if you experience eye problems as a result of poor sleep choices or an inability to fall asleep, we can help you treat and manage your symptoms. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

What Our Patients Think

  • Ben Crosswhite / OWNER, CROSSWHITE FITNESS
    I couldn't recommend a better doctor, a better facility, and I'm so glad I did it.
  • Brenda Edson in front of a brick home
    Brenda Edson /
    "I could not have asked for a better experience at Piedmont Eye Center. From my very first visit, the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in me."
  • Bobby Moore /
    "I wish I would have done it many years ago now."
  • Bryan Mitchell outside of a football stadium
    Bryan Mitchell / ANALYST
    "My vision was the best it had been since I was a teen. I had my LASIK surgery performed almost 2 years ago, and it is as good today as it was then."
  • Caroline Trexler /
    "They ensured that the entire process from preliminary appointments to follow up visits went seamlessly – the perfect team that gave me perfect vision."
  • Charles / RETIRED COMMANDER , UNITED STATES NAVY
    "All and all, this has been a very pleasant and beneficial period for me. I recommend it highly for anyone in a similar situation.'
  • Cynthia Stewart standing outside
    Cynthia /
    "I feel almost like a new person It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and be able to actually see across the room without fumbling for my glasses. "
  • Frances / RETIRED
    "Dr. Ceballos has always been very positive, clarifying everything medically, never leaving me in doubt and has always made me feel special and important."
  • Guy / RETIRED
    "The procedure was painless, and now I’m happy to say I only wear glasses to read. I have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/25 in my right. "
  • Janice Bloom standing in front of a tree
    Janice Bloom / ADMISSIONS DATABASE & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    "Dr. Bowers and his staff treated me with the utmost in professional care, making sure I was comfortable throughout the entire process."
  • Barbara / RETIRED
    "The procedure was pain free and I am so pleased with the results. It was money well spent and it is unbelievable how clear and colorful everything is. I want to tell Dr. Bowers and his staff how grateful I am."
  • Jerome / RETIRED
    "Doctor Vogel has treated me professionally as has his staff. They have been caring and have answered my questions to my satisfaction."
  • Jon Dupin standing outside of a brick home
    Jon Dupin / PASTOR
    "LASIK is not just a medical advancement to me; it’s a miracle"
  • Josh Brewer / HUMANITARIAN AID
    "Because of Dr. Bowers and his team at Piedmont Eye Center, my everyday life is now a whole lot easier. "
  • Judy Bowman / MISSIONARY
    "My experience of having Laser Vision Correction was fantastic. Dr. Bowers and all his staff are so knowledgeable and professional, yet very personal, warm, caring, and friendly."
  • Lucy standing in a classroom
    Lucy /
    "Dr. Bowers and his team were very comforting. The next morning, I opened my eyes and was able to see the alarm clock across the room, which I was never able to see before. It was a miracle!"
  • Martha Ann / GRANDMOTHER
    "It is a wonderful feeling to have no RX lenses. I want to thank Dr. Bowers and the Surgery Center for the freedom I feel.”
  • Monica Shelton / Featured Patient
    "Everyone told me what they were going to be doing to me and what to expect every step of the way. My experience with Piedmont Eye Center and Dr. Bowers and the whole LASIK team was awesome!"
  • Adelia / RETIRED
    "God led me to Dr. Vogel. He is absolutely the most wonderful doctor in the world. Not only is he a great doctor, he is a great ‘people person’. You always feel safe with him."
  • Penny Abbot in front of a home
    Penny Abbott / Financial Consultant
    "From the great staff who helped me, to the simplicity of setting up my flexible spending account, to my complete satisfaction and enjoyment of having clear sight, this has been an easy process."
  • Sallie Bloom / SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
    "The staff at Piedmont eased my nerves and the procedure was swift and smooth."
  • Sue Earsing and lasik eye surgery
    Sue / CHIROPRACTOR
    "I have always seen the world through glasses or contacts, so the sharpness of vision I have now was never there before."
  • Tim / NATIONAL ENDURO CHAMPION
    “Dr. Bowers not only met my expectations, he surpassed them. I had no idea that vision like this was possible. I no longer struggle in the shadows of a course- everything is clearer.”
  • Troy Doss
    Troy Doss / ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AT JEFFERSON FOREST
    "Piedmont Eye Center takes care of the little things to make LASIK a comfortable process."
Read More Testimonials