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Have you ever seen someone sleeping with their eyes open? This is a fairly common eye condition called Nocturnal Lagophthalmos. The eyes could be fully or partially open while the person sleeps. This condition affects people of all ages.

Of course, people with nocturnal lagophthalmos might be completely unaware of the condition, but they might wake up with irritated or dry eyes.

Thankfully, this condition does not cause severe complications if it is detected early enough and taken care of.

Causes:

If someone has an issue with their facial nerves or muscles, keeping the eyes fully closed can be difficult. It can also occur because of problems with the skin around the eyelids. Here are some things that can cause this condition.

  • A medical condition like a stroke or Bells palsy can weaken or paralyse the facial nerves.
  • Injury, surgery, or trauma can also cause paralysis to the facial muscles and nerves.
  • While these are less common, infections such as chicken pox, mumps, and polio can also weaken the muscles.
  • Sedative and alcohol abuse can cause the condition.
  • It could be genetic or anatomical where the eyes bulge, so the lids have a challenge covering them.

Treatment

  • Use of medication like artificial tears to prevent the condition from deteriorating.
  • One can wear eye products like moisture goggles while sleeping. Eye mask and external eyelid weights can also help.
  • Make sure the air is not too dry. A humidifier in the bedroom helps.
  • Avoid sleeping pills and alcohol.
  • Sleep in dark, cool, and peaceful rooms.

 

It is difficult to diagnose Nocturnal Lagophthalmos because sometimes the eyelashes could obstruct the observer’s view of the eyes. But if you sleep early and still wake up with dry eye symptoms, then it is time to go see your eye doctor.

If left untreated, this condition can permanently damage the eyes, so take prompt action.