Sleeping with eyes open

sleeping with eyes open

Do you wake up with your eyes feeling dry and grainy? Then you are likely sleeping with eyes open. This condition is medically known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. We close our eyelids when sleeping to cover the eyeball. The eyelid has a thin layer of tear fluid used to maintain the moist environment for the eye cells to function. When the eyelid does not cover the eyeball, it can lead to infection, scratch, or even damage the eye.

Symptoms of sleeping with open eyes

  • Blurred vision
  • Scratchiness
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • A scratchy feeling in the eye, etc.


A person sleeping with eyes problem may be experiencing problems related to nerves or facial muscles. A weakened eyelid skin (orbicularis oculi) is another cause of sleeping with open eyes. Conditions that may cause the above problems are:

  • Stroke
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Bell palsy
  • Trauma
  • A tumor near the facial nerve


Nocturnal lagophthalmos should not be lightly taken. In case you experience the above symptoms, it’s advisable to visit your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will assess you by asking you questions and carrying out some tests to ascertain the cause of the problem.

Treatment option

There are several options that the doctor can choose from, depending on the cause or severity of your case. These options are:

  1. sleeping with eyes openMoisture googles – Used at night when sleeping to moisturize the eyes
  2. Lid weight or surgical tape -Worn at the outer upper part of the eyelids to help close the eyes
  3. Medication – The doctor may prescribe to your medication to keep your eyes lubricated. I.e., Eye drops, ophthalmic ointment, artificial tears.
  4. Surgery – Eyelid implant may be required in severe cases. The implant is more of a permanent solution, as it will help you close the eyes.

If you suspect you have this condition early, it can be easily managed with simple solutions. Seek medical attention from a doctor to give you advice before going for OTC medication like eye drops. All modes of treatment are safe and effective.

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