Worse in the morning
Dry eye is a chronic condition that can affect patients of all ages. There are certain signs and symptoms I will try to tease out from my patients in an effort to best customize their treatment plans. One of the first things I ask is when do your eyes feel the worst? If my patient tells me they feel worse in the morning, I can narrow down the root cause rather quickly.
Incomplete lid closure
When you have dryness in the morning, you are most likely suffering from some form of dryness due to exposure of the cornea to the environment. In simpler terms you are not completely closing your eyes at night. HAs anyone ever told you that you sleep with your eyes open? Then this may be you.
Can this be possible
Now, I know what you are thinking (or maybe it is just me because I have 4 kids under 7) but I see my kids sleeping with their eyes open all the time. They do not complain of dry eyes, what’s the deal? This is true, but they also have fully functional tear films. As we age, our tear production and quality decreases so this exposure to the environment is exacerbated.
Environmental factors at play
In addition, we often have fans blowing on our face, a really dry environment that would benefit from a humidifier, or we wear other medical devices such as a CPAP that blows air directly in to our eyes. All of these things will make the incomplete lid closure more of an issue. There has to be something you can do to help fix these issues, right? You are correct.
First, in extreme cases of incomplete lid closure, surgery may be required, but this is not the majority of cases. Simply not using fans, aiming them away from your face, or using a thicker gel or ointment (genteal severe dry eye gel or ointment or hylo night ointment) before going to sleep are options. There are also moisture goggles you can sleep in (Eyeseals 4.0) or an “eye patch” like the SleepTite device. I have heard of people even using saran wrap around their eyes to help seal in moisture.
Get specific answers
All of these are options, but the key is to protect your corneas at night. If you are not sure or want specific guidance, give the office a call and schedule a dry eye evaluation. There we can customize treatments and see if this is why your eyes feel dry. There may be other underlying conditions we can help treat and restore the function of as well. When in doubt, let us check it out!