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lack of sleep

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Vision Problems? The Answer is “Yes”

Posted Mar 20, 2019 | Eye Health

We’ve all been there: after a long night of cramming for a test or trying to get the kids to sleep on time, we look in the mirror and see tired, irritated eyes staring back at us. It’s uncomfortable, annoying—and can cause vision problems throughout your day. The fact is, a lack of sleep can have serious consequences for your eyes, including:

1. Dry eyes: The American Academy of Ophthalmology flags dry eyes as a common symptom of not getting enough sleep. Keeping our eyes closed during sleep gives them hours of uninterrupted time to moisturize; deny them that R&R and they’ll let you know they’re angry in the morning.

2. Blurry vision: One of the more irritating symptoms that can accompany sleeplessness is blurry vision. When your eyes work overtime you may not blink enough. That can cause blurry vision, says an article on Better Health Channel, an Australian government website. Drowsiness isn’t the only reason for blurry vision, so if you experience this frequently you should see an eye doctor.

3. Sensitivity to light: Is there any more obvious sign that you need to catch some Zs than when your eyes develop an aversion to light? You may find yourself squinting in normal daylight while everyone else is enjoying the scenery. WebMD.com lists this as a symptom of eye fatigue. Take the hint—don’t put your eyes through this on a regular basis.

4. Eye Spasms: According to the AOA, a lack of sleep can cause you to develop eye spasms. Our eye movements are controlled by some of the most active muscles in the body and demanding too much of them can have consequences.

5. Bags under the eyes: While dark undereye circles appear below the eyes, they’re so closely associated with lack of sleep that they’re worth mentioning here. Bags under the eyes can show up when we retain too much fluid in the area, and there seems to be a correlation between this and sleepless nights. The AOA recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night to try and stave off dark circles.

Our eyes can deal with the occasional all-nighter, but consistently falling short on sleep can have long-term effects. If you have any concerns about your vision, be sure to see your eye doctor—but maybe try to avoid an early morning appointment!

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