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Why Do I Wake Up with Dry Eyes?

Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. Nighttime exposure with dry eye disease refers to the symptoms of dryness, irritation, and discomfort that are experienced during the night or upon waking up in the morning.

During the night, the eyes are closed, and tears are not produced as frequently as they are during the day. This can lead to a buildup of debris and bacteria on the surface of the eye, which can exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye disease. Additionally, exposure to dry air, such as from air conditioning or fans, can further aggravate dry eye symptoms during the night.

Management of nighttime exposure with dry eye disease typically involves using ointments, Eyeseal goggles or even SleepTite/SleepRite lid tape. This can help keep the eyes moist and reduce the discomfort and irritation associated with dry eye disease. Other strategies may include using a cool-mist humidifier in the bedroom to increase the moisture in the air, avoiding exposure to air conditioning or turning off ceiling fans, and taking breaks from reading or using digital devices before going to bed.

-Norin Ali, OD

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