Vision Correction

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Blurry Vision

Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

By Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

October 15, 2021

Can lack of sleep cause blurry vision?

Of course it can! What else causes lack of sleep? Drinking too much, which can cause dehydration, which causes a “lack of sleep dry eyes” also called “lack of sleep blurry vision” but we know what the real cause is now, don’t we? (Alcohol dry eyes!)

Just about anything that you know is probably not the best health choice can cause dry eyes lack of sleep. Can lack of sleep cause red eyes? Can lack of sleep cause blurred vision? Can lack of sleep cause vision problems? Of course it can. In fact, signs of sleep deprivation eyes can be the root cause of lack of sleep eye pain and sleep deprivation eye twitch. Let’s look at the underlying causes.

10 causes of lack of sleep red eyes

  1. Drinking the night before
  2. Medications the night before such as SSRIs like Zoloft, Detrol, and many others
  3. Dehydration: You just need to drink more water
  4. Diuretics (make you urinate more) such as caffeine, Lasix (furosemide), and many others
  5. Sleep aids such as Benadryl dehydrate you
  6. Lagophthalmos, or incomplete eyelid closure, which is not as rare as you might imagine
  7. Sleep apnea: Can definitely cause red eyes due to floppy eyelid syndrome. Yes, it’s a thing, a very real thing that I see quite frequently in my patients. See this link:
  8. Insomnia: Many people with signs of sleep deprivation have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This most definitely can tax their eyes and make theirs yes red and dry due to lack of sleep.
  9. Eye allergies: Eye allergies may be misdiagnosed as lack of sleep blurry vision, when it may be something else.
  10. Contact lens overwear diagnosed as a lack of sleep eye pain. Many of my patients sleep in their contact lenses and are uncomfortable telling me because they worry that I’ll get all “judgey.” I won’t! Let me tell you a quick story. When I was in my early 20s, I traveled all over Europe and wore my contacts for 45 or more days without ever taking them out. As an eye surgeon now, I can’t tell you how dangerous that was. Actually I can tell you: it’s really dangerous! I’m lucky I came out of it with only GPC, an allergic reaction to the contacts that makes a lack of sleep dry eyes look mild. I could never wear contact lenses comfortably again after that trip.

Sleep deprivation eye twitch

Eyelid twitches seem to happen mostly without a discernible cause. Myriad reasons have been suggested, but because eyelid twitching is completely benign, there’s not a lot of research nor drug therapies for a benign lid twitch. Eyelid twitches usually go away anywhere from a few minutes to a day or more. So a sleep deprivation related eye twitch is basically nothing to worry about. We don’t know specifically what causes it, although certain things like dehydration, lack of sleep, potentially some calcium imbalance have all been proposed but no one knows exactly the reason why we get a benign sleep deprivation eyelid twitch sometimes.

However, persistent or severe uncontrollable eyelid squeezing and twitching can be a sign of essential blepharospasm, a potentially disabling condition where one’s eyes squeeze closed uncontrollably. Essential blepharospasm can prevent people from driving safely. It also has no known cause, but can often be treated with injected botulinum toxin.

Lack of sleep in and of itself may not directly cause dry eyes, but all the above factors may exacerbate eye dryness and make it seem that lack of sleep and dry eyes are not only related, but is a causal relationship. I don’t know if this helps, but I hope so!

Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

Dr. Matthew Sharpe is an Ophthalmologist specializing in refractive surgery and the owner SharpeVision MODERN LASIK & LENS, with offices in Seattle, Austin, and Chicago. Dr. Sharpe is a world traveler, pianist, marathon runner, motorcyclist, and fluent French speaker. He enjoys every second of life, but finds he is happiest at home cheering on The Ohio State Buckeyes with his wife, three children, and four dogs.
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