Dry eyes while sleeping
June 15, 2007 7:40 PM   Subscribe

My young wife (32 years old) for years has complained about her eyes drying out while sleeping. Any good ideas for relief?

We can't have ceiling fans on nor anything that creates a breeze. I can tell that her eyelids are just slightly open while she sleeps. She has been on Restasis (eye drops) but I think it is because her eyelids can't close all the way. Her doctor suggested "taping" her eyes closed at night. That is just freaky. Any suggestions or ideas?
posted by tdabbott to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
i also sleep with my eyes partially open. i had no idea until my eye doctor told me (he could see a line of dryness on my contact lenses. my boyfriend confirmed i slept with my eyes open sometimes and it freaked him out. the things you learn...)
anyway, how about trying a sleep mask? jet blue gave me one on a recent flight and it seems to be working well when i remember to wear it.
posted by jessica at 7:44 PM on June 15, 2007

There are eyedrops designed for people like her (and me). GenTeal Gel is the brand my eye doc suggested. It's really thick and might be worth a shot.
posted by chairface at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2007

I had "smart plugs" put in my eyes. They're tiny little tubes inserted in the tear duct that keep the moisture from draining. It sounds horrific, but it only took the doctor a few seconds to put them in. I can't feel them at all.
posted by lunalaguna at 8:50 PM on June 15, 2007

If she can get used to it - wearing an eye mask to bed may help. It will put a little pressure on the eyelids, helping them stay closed. Plus it blocks any air currents.
posted by blahtsk at 9:02 PM on June 15, 2007

Perhaps a humidifier may help? Are you in a dry climate?
posted by solongxenon at 9:06 PM on June 15, 2007

1) humidifier at night

2) drinking flax seed oil in some context in the late evening

3) sticking with the Restasis going to bed, and again in the morning

4) drinking antioxidants throughout the day like green tea or rooibos tea

5) trying Genteal overnight eye gel once a week

6) Try punctual plugs as lunaguna suggested; there are different sizes, make sure to get a size that is not too small

[/post Lasik dry-eye sufferer]
posted by deern the headlice at 10:11 PM on June 15, 2007

During the winter, my eyes can get so dry I can scrape my corneas just blinking when I wake up. Taping your eyes closed has never worked for me, not for more than a couple of hours. Sleep masks do nothing, my eyes are open under them.

I have stuck to not drinking or eating things that dry me out late at night - no sugary drinks, milk, etc., after a certain time. Drink a lot of water. Brush your teeth, which seems to help me with saliva production and overall dampness. Then I just keep two large humidifiers going at full blast from October to April, every night. I have them set up so that the fog heads to the ceiling, then more or less drops down on my face. Oh, and a nice hot water compress on the eyelids right before bed, helps keep all of those nice glands open and ready to lubricate.
posted by adipocere at 10:27 PM on June 15, 2007

lunalaguna has it... I worked for 5 years as an optometrist's assistant and we saw your wife's problem countless times... tear duct plugs are the answer... I've never heard them called "smart plugs," though, but that's what she's talking about.
posted by amyms at 10:56 PM on June 15, 2007

Actually, I started wearing a sleep mask a couple of years ago, and it makes my eyes dryer than when I don't wear it. I think because there's something against my eyes, they don't move as much or something, and thus get dryer.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:40 PM on June 15, 2007

I had a similar problem about a year ago that turned out to be allergy-related -- I had to use this gel-type substance that I'd put under my eyelids before I went to sleep to prevent dryness. It was gross, but it did the trick. The gel was available in the pharmacy with all of the eye drops, but I don't remember what t was called.
posted by drycleanonly at 6:01 AM on June 16, 2007

I have a problem with eye dryness and small blisters on my lenses, so my opthamologist told me to use a saline ointment like this one. The saline draws moisture from your inner eye to keep the surface sufficiently moistened.

I've been using it every night for several years now, and haven't had the problem since.
posted by briank at 7:38 AM on June 16, 2007

I just have dry eyes, no open while sleeping, but I use a nighttime lubricant. It's helped amazingly (saline drops did nothing for me). It has mineral oil and petroleum in it. I generally find it near eye drops, from $4-12, depending on brand. (I think this is generally the expensive one I see at the drug store.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:38 AM on June 16, 2007

Not sure what the drops she's using now are like, but my S.O. sleeps with her eyes (slightly) open, and uses the "Allergan" brand lubricant eye drops. They're not cheap (about $1 a dose, maybe?), but work really well.

I've tried them, and they feel pretty strange going in (and make your vision vision momentarily cloudy) but they seem to actually "coat" your eyes and keep them for drying out. Worth a try, and if they don't work, you can always use them when you're pulling a long day looking at a CRT.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:12 PM on June 16, 2007

Allergy? Is your room very dusty - ask a doctor.
posted by Dub at 5:45 PM on June 16, 2007

I have very dry eyes as well. The only new thing I might add is that before going to bed (and in the morning) apply as hot a wet cloth (like a washcloth) to her eyes for about 15 minutes. Warm compresses are good and I do it every morning in the shower.

If none of these things work, I'd suggest seeing a good ophthalmologist. S/he might prescribe Restasis, a prescription eye drop that promotes tears.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:28 AM on June 17, 2007

I can't help with the eye situation, but bless you for calling her your "young wife" at 32. I hope my fiance refers to me as same!
posted by desjardins at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2007

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