Medically known as nocturnal lagophthalmos, sleeping with your eyes open can be a temporary or permanent condition. Baby’s sometimes sleep with their eyes open but usually outgrown this around their first year or so.
Some people can only close their eyes part way when the blink during the day so a part of their eye dries out. They have to use eye drops to keep their eyes lubricated.
While sleepwalkers are going about their nightly rounds, they too are sleeping with their eyes open, although their brain isn’t really registering what is going on around them.
The real problem occurs when the eyes are left open regularly during sleep. The tears that are used to lubricate their eyes evaporate and the eyes dry out. Tears are used by the eyes to lubricate and to wash away debris like dust or pollen and they help kill off any bacteria that you may have been exposed to during the day.
Some of the problems that can develop include:
- Poor, shortened sleep due to sore and dry eyes
- Dust, dirt and other eye irritations are not cleaned out during the night
- Eyes can become inflamed
- Dry spots may develop on the cornea
- Blurred vision in the morning
Causes of Sleeping with Eyes Open include:
- Bell’s Palsy – temporary loss of muscle control in the face
- Orbicularis muscle of your eyelid not functioning properly
- Runs in families
- Multiple sclerosis
- Face trauma from an accident
Treatments of sleeping with your eyes open must first involve treating any underlying condition that may be causing the problem. Some people wear a protective mask or eye patch to keep their eyes closed and others have used special medical tape to keep the eyelids shut. As a last resort to correct muscular damage, surgery has been used to implant weights to help hold down the eyelid.
Do you know someone who sleeps with their eyes open? Leave a comment below.