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Home » News » Rest Your Eyes & Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

Rest Your Eyes & Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

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You know how you feel when you don’t get enough sleep – cranky, foggy, dragging through the day? And your eyes may be red and puffy with black bags underneath. But not only does lack of sleep affect the appearance of your eyes, it can also interfere with your eye health. How? Your  Clearwater eye doctor explains all about the connection between sleep and your vision.

What do eyes do during sleep?

Studies have shown that when you sleep throughout the night, you experience three to five episodes of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, comprising 20-25% of your sleep time. During these sleep stages, most of your body’s muscles shut down and relax, but not your eyes. In fact, eyes move so fast during REM that they can reach up to 1,000 degrees of movement per second.

The precise purpose of REM sleep remains unknown, however we do know that if you don’t get enough solid zzz’s, serious eye problems can result.

What happens when your eyes don’t sleep enough?

Puffiness and dark circles under your eyes

These are only cosmetic issues and not a dangerous side effect of sleep deprivation. But they can be quite unattractive and make you look old and tired.

Red eyes

Sometimes a poor night’s rest leads to popped blood vessels in your eye. Though they’re not painful, most people don’t like sporting the zombie look.

Twitching or eye spasms

Also known as myokymia, these involuntary eye movements can be uncomfortable, but they will pass after you get more rest. Yet, in the meantime they can be very frustrating and make it hard to drive, work, or read.

Dry, itchy eyes

Without enough sleep, the fluid circulation of lubricating tears in your eyes doesn’t work well, leading to dry eyes or making a case of dry eye syndrome even worse. Not only do dry eyes cause irritation, but they can also compromise the health of your eyes. You may experience an increased sensitivity to light or blurry vision. Also, people with dry eyes tend to rub them, which exacerbates the problem and can lead to infection. And of course, if you are sleep deprived, your immune system is weakened; so infection can occur more easily. If your dry eyes last more than a few days, call our Clearwater to book an eye exam and get relief from personalized dry eye treatment.

By the way, if you try to solve your sleep problem with sleeping pills, beware! According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, these drugs can have serious side effects that may complicate your body’s ability to secrete moisture, which can cause dry eye.

Glaucoma

This sight-threatening eye disease happens when too much pressure builds up inside the eye and there is damage to the optic nerve. A 2019 article published in The Journal of Glaucoma reported the results of a study of more than 6,700 people over 40 years old in the US who have glaucoma, and a strong link was found between having glaucoma and having various sleep problems.

AION – Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

This condition is closely linked to sleep apnea. AION is a persistent inflammation of eye vessels, which can lead to vision loss eventually. It results from the optic nerve not getting a proper supply of blood and oxygen.

Did you know eyes eat as you sleep?

When you doze through the night, your body organs get nourished. Everything you eat passes first through your liver, and at night, the energy from this food travels throughout your body – including to your eyeballs. So to keep your eyes healthy and your vision working efficiently, you need solid, restful sleep!

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, our Clearwater advises you to ask us about taking eye vitamins to counteract some of the side effects of sleep deprivation. These supplements can alleviate some of the pain of dry eye too.

Are you tired?

Most likely, you’re fully aware of when you are sleep-deprived. And if you aren’t self-aware, then usually someone around you – family, co-workers, friends – will point out your grouchy attitude. When that happens regularly, it’s time to take a look at your daily habits and figure out the root of your sleep loss (before you lose your friends too!). Remedying this problem can give you a whole new perspective on waking up in the morning!

At Northwood Vision, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 727-205-0445 or book an appointment online to see one of our Clearwater eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Dear Northwood Vision patient,

Here is what we are asking you to do to make a smaller exposure footprint:

  1. If you have any symptoms of loss of taste or smell, upset stomach/diarrhea coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, running nose please reschedule your appointment in 30 days or more.
  2. Wash your hands or use sanitizer immediately upon entering.
  3. Try not to touch any surfaces in the office you do not have to touch (you can push our door open with your foot! Try not to touch your face!)
  4. If you are trying on glasses, we will collect them from you for proper cleaning.
  5. Contact lenses can be shipped to you at no cost with an active rx (minimum 2 boxes)
  6. We will ask that if possible you come alone to the appointment. Guests can wait outside or in the car unless they need to be with you..
  7. If you have been exposed please wear a mask or reschedule in case you are an asymptomatic carrier, masks are encouraged to be worn by each patient if you have one.
  8. We will extend Contact lens prescriptions up to 6 months if recently expired and can direct ship an order to you if you see clearly and your eyes are feeling healthy.
  9. For a fee, we can ship your glasses to you if desired and you can have them adjusted after the shelter in place order is lifted.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this stressful and trying time. May God bless each of you and keep you well.

Dr. Christopher K. Keats, OD

What is an Eye Emergency? Read more

Routine Care: “I see pretty well in my glasses or contact lenses. I just want to update my frame and / or get some new lenses to optimize my vision. I don’t have any pain or headaches and my eyes feel good and look normal in the mirror to me. I have never been told I have a disease in my eye that needs to be managed. I should definitely wait to come in until the “Shelter at Home” mandate is over. If I am a contact lens wearer, I understand Dr. Keats will allow me to get 3-6 months of contact lenses mailed to me even if my contact lenses are recently expired or close to expiring.”

Emergent Care: “I see poorly and am having difficulty functioning to drive, read, or see my computer. It is affecting my work. Waiting to be seen in 2 months would be very difficult for me to conduct my life.” Another form of emergent care… “I have other symptoms like headaches, red eyes, discharge, or I might have a disease that threatens my sight like diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, a recent onset of flashes and floaters in my vision and so on.” A final type of emergent care would be a patient who realizes, “I am a patient who has a previously scheduled appointment for a medical condition Dr. Keats is managing to protect my sight, so I should plan on coming in for my visit. However, if my overall health is poor and the benefit to risk ratio says I should push this appointment off until the “Shelter at Home” mandate is lifted, it may be wise for me to reschedule for a later date.” In summary, emergent care means it is important that you be seen quickly for the protection of your visual health and current discomfort, or medical health, so you can function to do your work efficiently now and in the future.