9 Best Tips To Stop Dry Eyes In The Morning | STOP Waking Up With Dry Eyes

9 Best Tips To Stop Dry Eyes In The Morning | STOP Waking Up With Dry Eyes

Why Do Your Eyes Hurt When Waking Up In The Morning?

Dealing with dry eye syndrome 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 from an eye doctor, such as dry eye syndrome, meibomian gland dysfunction, 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 often caused by staph, 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 on the surface of your eyes. 

But if it’s dry eye, there are options to try that can lessen the pain and red eyes 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 9 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 lubricated longer. Don't forget to drink an entire glass of water right when you wake up as well. We recommend keeping a reusable water bottle, such as this one, with you at all times throughout your day. Fill it with filtered water and enjoy. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, so if you weigh 150 pounds, that's 75 ounces of water you should be drinking each day. The reusable bottle will help remind you!

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. 

To use this spray, simply spray the solution onto your eyelids, rub it in, and let it dry. Alternatively, you can spray the solution onto a cotton ball or round before applying, or even just spray it onto your eyelids and go. There's no need to rinse this solution off.

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 of your dry eyes after waking up in the morning. 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 as well! If you just like the noise of the fan, purchase a white noise machine instead.

4. Try using an eye gel just before going to bed. These are better than artificial tears because they're much thicker. Apply the gel 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. By doing this, you can help heal the surface of your eyes and decrease that gritty feeling in the morning.

5. Cut down on computer screen 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. 

6. Use a warm compress eye mask. We love a good eye mask, and a warm compress can really help symptom relief for dry eyes in the morning. If you have blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction, you'll have stagnant oils that are stuck in your glands, unable to come out. By using a warm compress, you can heat up these oils and help them release onto the eyes. We recommend the Heyedrate Warm Compress Eye Mask and it's simple to use. Place it in the microwave for 20 seconds, test the temperature, and then place it over your closed eyes for 10-20 minutes. Do this both in the morning and the evening.

7. Remove your makeup before going to bed. We should not have to tell you this. However, there are still so many women who do not completely remove their makeup before bed. Makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria, and this can cause you to wake up with dry, red, irritated eyes. We love the Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover Oil because it contains tea tree essential oil for extra antimicrobial activity, and it's free of harsh chemicals.

8. Try an eye mask while sleeping. Many people sleep with fans on and either the heat or air conditioner running, and this can dry out your eyes as you sleep. In fact, there are many of you who sleep with your eyes open just a bit! To avoid drying out the surface of your eyes, try a sleeping mask or goggles. Simply place them on before you turn out the light and keep those eyes moistened all night long.

9. Practice gratitude and yoga. You may be thinking...really?! But yes, keeping a gratitude journal and writing down 3-5 things you're grateful for every single day can change your life. By focusing on the positive, you'll be constantly looking for things to be grateful for in your life. If you're unsure where to begin, check out this gratitude journal which helps you along the way. Besides this, yoga is a great wind-down tool to get in a little stretching and help you fall asleep more quickly. To make it super easy on yourself, buy a yoga mat and leave it right next to your bed. It might seem strange to recommend these for dry eye, but stress can play a huge role in how you feel.

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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  • Dr. Travis Zigler
Comments 4
  • Jenna Zigler
    Jenna Zigler

    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

    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
    Jenna Zigler

    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

    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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