How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Vision?

Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by amy

Our eye health depends on the numbers of hours we spend every night to receive the necessary nutrients our eyes need to function. However, finding the time to sleep can be difficult to come by if we have tight schedules or live a high-paced life where we’re always on the go. Sleep can feel like a luxury. Whatever it may be, there aren’t enough hours being spent on resting our eyes which impacts our eye health. According to the data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of less than six hours of sleep per day in 2005-2007. Within a nine year span, new data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals 35% of adults are not sleeping the recommended hours of sleep. The 35% of us, adults, who have poor sleeping patterns are affecting our eye health gradually the more hours we’re spending away from a good night’s sleep.

If we don’t meet the needs of our eyes we lower the immunity of our eye health. Without sleeping the recommended hours — according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute adults are recommended to sleep seven to eight hours a night — we disrupt the lubrication process our eyes undergo every night to replenish our eyes for full optimal function. We work against our eye health spending more hours awake, since we reduce the fluid circulation to cleanse and renew our eyes. For our overall eye health our eyes need to rest at least seven hours to get the nutrients our tears produce to protect them.

Getting less than seven hours of sleep can result in minor exclusive symptoms indicating we aren’t sleeping enough hours and our eye health is being affected to a degree. A common eye health symptom of poor sleeping patterns are eye spasms known as myokymia which is the involuntary twitching of the eye. Even though eye spasms are painless and harmless to our vision, it’s a sign of an imbalance to our eye muscles that is harder to control when we lack sleep.

Eye spams might be the least harmful side effect to our vision, however, a more serious eye health symptom to insufficient sleep is dry eyes. Dry eyes happen when there aren’t enough tears being produced by our eyes to keep them moist. The lack of moist to our eyes causes irritation to our cornea, the outer surface of the eye covering the iris. Irritation to the cornea, a key component to our eye health especially our vision, notifies us our eyes aren’t getting the constant moisture from our tears providing them with the nutrients and protection they need. Dry eyes cause more damage to our eye health because the lack of moisture exposes our eyes to the debris, dust, bacteria and infections in the air around us. Our eye health relies on the number of hours we sleep to undergo the lubrication process to produce the three layers our tears are made of: oxygen, water, and oil each of which play an important part in damping and protecting the health of our eyes.

Suffering from dry eyes doesn’t necessarily mean that our eyes are always dry, on the contrary, we can experience inconsistent cycles of excessive tears temporarily impairing our eye health especially our ability to see. The overproduction of tears blurs our vision for a short amount of time making it difficult to complete tasks. During these cycles our eyes are impair for a brief moment before clearing up making our eyes dry once again. The inconsistent fluid circulation imposes more damage to our eye health especially to our vision after leaving them dry once again. When our eyes become dry again we have a harder time focusing our vision on activities for an extended period of time such as looking at computer screens and reading. The more we try focusing our vision while suffering from dry eyes our eye health becomes damaged by staining them too much known as eye fatigue.

If we continue to sleep for less than then the seven hours recommended, our symptoms may progress to us experiencing eye fatigue. When we begin to experience eye fatigue we’ve lowered the immunity to our eye health more so in the field of our vision. Straining our eyes makes them feel sore and irritated causing us to have great discomfort and a burning sensation whether our eyes are open or closed. The lack of sleep impacts our eye health by increasing the retention of blood and fluid flow around our eyes causing us to see double or have blurry vision, that doesn’t go away quite so easily no matter how many times we blink. By putting more effort into trying to see clearly by squinting our eyes to focus our double or blurry vision creates more strain to our eye health. Squinting our eyes changes the shape of our eyes and how much of light enters them to see clearly but it causes contractions to our eye muscles causing us to get headaches on our temples if we do it often. If we’re constantly straining our eyes to see clearly what is in front of us we can sometimes burst a blood vessel in our eyes causing mild pain or irritation. Popping a blood vessel in the eye is an indicator our eye health is suffering from a minor indisposition that occurs when there has been too much tension to the eye or when the eye hasn’t been well conserved by our tears from outside particles.

Sleep is a very important factor in maintaining our overall eye health and more importantly the ability to have a full functioning vision. Getting less than the recommended hours causes us to have brief impairments not associated with dry eyes or eye fatigue. The continuation of poor sleeping patterns may not necessarily give us eye health symptoms of eye fatigue or dry eye, most of the time, but give us eye floaters. Eye floaters are small moving spots that appear in the field of our vision. These spots may appear as black or grey specks, strings, or cobwebs drifting the more we move our eyes and if we stare at these spots they look as if they are darting from us. The eye health of our vision is at greater risk with eye floaters because this impairment becomes more visible in lighter backgrounds completely covering our field of vision with only giving glimpses of what it is in front of us. Lack of sleep can lead to temporary blindness from the drifting specks eye floaters create limiting our ability to complete any task that requires the optimal function of our vision. Our eye health needs to be a priority as much as the rest of our body’s health in order for us to see clearly.

Sleeping less than seven hours is affective when done often but a constant maintenance of poor sleeping patterns can have its affect in the long run working against our eye health. Continuing to sleep less hours on a regular basis can help aid a severe level of dry eyes or worst conditions that permanently damage our eyes’ vision. If we continue to suffer from dry eyes and aren’t letting our eyes rest to replenish them, we’re decreasing the immunity of our eye health and increasing our chances of developing chronic dry eyes. Once we reach a chronic level of dry eyes our eyes are no longer producing new tears during the night, not to say it is a condition that can’t be fix. When we develop chronic dry eyes, our eye health requires from us a profound sleep to get our eyes back into the lubrication process they need to get the nutrients our tears produce to provide protection to our eyes.

The number of hours we stay awake rather than sleeping on a regular basis can help work against our eye health by aiding the developments of other eye conditions such as benign essential blepharospam (BEB), the involuntary closure of the eyelids but also causing light sensitivity to our eyes. Then there is Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (ION) which decreases the blood flow damaging the optic nerve for clear eyesight creating pain in our eyes. Lack of sleep aren’t the direct causes to these conditions, however, insufficient sleep is associated with aiding these conditions for permanent damage to our overall eye health.

We need to sleep at least the minimum hours recommended, seven full hours of deep sleep, for our eyes to undergo their lubrication process to restore the nutrients our eyes need. Our eye health requires us to have our eyes constantly moist to provide protection from the particles in the air and to have optimum function of our sight. Instead of working against our eye health by getting insufficient sleep on a regular basis, we need to start finding time to sleep the seven hours to prevent our eyes from suffering minor affects; minor affects impairing our field of sight temporarily.