Waking Up With Dry Eyes? 5 Tips To Stop Dry Eyes In The Morning

Why Do Your Eyes Burn In The Morning?

Dealing with dry eye can be a pain. Dry eye symptoms are pretty common in the U.S! That doesn’t always mean the cause is dry eye syndrome itself, but whether or not that is the cause, waking every morning with burning, itchy, red eyes that are overly sensitive to light is no fun.

If the symptoms are intermittent or associated with a changing season or new activities in your life, then make some lifestyle adjustments based on what you think may be causing the problem. If that doesn’t help within a few weeks, see an eye care specialist.

If, however, the symptoms have been with you for a while, or you know the reason for them because you have a diagnosis, such as dry eye or blepharitis, then do some research or check with your optometrist about possible treatments or lifestyle changes that might lessen the effects.

If you didn’t know already, blepharitis is caused by staph epidermidis, which is a bacterial infection on the eyelids. As the body tries to heal the infection, toxins are released into the system and those toxins often try to exit the system through the eyes. At night, when your eyes are shut, the toxins build up on your eyelids and cause extreme irritation and pain. 

But if it’s dry eye, there are options to try that can lessen the pain and other problems you wake with in the morning. Try these in the order you think will be most beneficial for you!

Hydration for dry eye treatment

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Dry Eyes In The Morning

1. Drink a full glass of water just before you go to bed, and keep a bottle of water near your bed to enjoy if you wake during the night. This will hydrate your entire system, which may help your eyes stay wet longer. Don't forget to drink an entire glass of water right when you wake up as well.

2. Keep your eyelids clean by using an eyelid cleanser before going to bed and upon waking up. Clean eyelids help fight blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction, which will in turn help you produce better tears, resulting in less dryness.  We recommend the Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser right when waking up and right before going to bed. Click here to check price and purchase on Amazon. 

3. Adjust the angle of any vents that are directed near your face. It could be that the air blowing from an air conditioner or heater is the cause. Some people sleep with their eyes partially open, and that alone can contribute to dryness, but if you add the forced dry air into the equation, then it could amplify your symptoms. Be wary of overhead fans!

4. Try using an eye gel just before going to bed – apply it in a thin line just inside your lower eyelid and then close your eye and gently massage the eyelid to get full coverage over the surface of the eye (cornea). Most of these gels are thicker, so do it immediately before you go to bed, because the gel will make your vision very blurry. We recommend Refresh Celluvisc Preservative-Free

5. Finally, the most unpopular of all tips... Cut down on computer time, TV viewing, and smartphone use two to three hours before you go to bed. When looking at such screens, it is easy to forget to blink enough. The blue light that back lights most screens can also be disruptive to your sleep, and fatigue aggravates dry eye symptoms. Also grab a pair of blue light blocking glasses for protection.  Click here to check prices and purchase our blue blockers on Amazon. 

After trying these changes, hopefully you’ll experience some relief. If not, get in to see your primary eye care specialist. Don’t leave the problem untreated!


One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

Dr. Travis Zigler
SeeEO of Eye Love
Director of the Dry Eye Syndrome Support Community

Click here to get our FREE Dry Eye eBook

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Jenna Zigler on June 05 2017 at 09:57AM

Hey Soha- Sounds like you need to go to an Optometrist, preferably pediatric. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to tell what’s going on without seeing you.

One Love,
Jenna Zigler

Soha on June 04 2017 at 10:45AM

Hello, I’m 11 years old, when I wake up in the morning my eye burns and gets painful, one day my right eye burns and gets watery its also painful and it gets small, and for 6-7 days my eye was blurry, dry, painful. I was applying sterile ophthalmic ointment to my eye everyday. I feel very bad and disappointed :( :’( what are the causes and treatments? :(
Thank you.

Jenna Zigler on May 02 2017 at 11:49AM

Hey Morningdew13 – I’m so sorry your son is experiencing such pain. I really think you need to take him to an Optometrist, preferably pediatric. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to tell what’s going on with him without seeing him. Best of luck!

One Love,
Dr. Jenna Zigler

Morningdew13 on May 02 2017 at 05:45AM

My 5 year old son wakes up frequently in the middle of the night crying from intense pain in his eyes, he feels better if he lets me give him eye drops and spray his nose with salt water,then I make him blow his nose until he stops sniffling, eye drops alone are never enough,sometimes he is in such intense pain he won’t let me even give him eye drops,I have to force him,I took him to many doctors most say he is fine one suggested he might have dry eyes but he never complains during the day,only in the middle of the night he actually wakes up crying from the pain.its breaking my heart.what do you think it could be??

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