Nocturnal Lagophthalmos and Dry Eye

Are you waking up in the morning with itchy, stinging eyes? Read on to find out all about nocturnal lagophthalmos and dry eyes.

Does nocturnal lagophthalmos cause dry eyes?

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the medical term for sleeping with your eyes open. Up to 20% of people have this condition, so you’re not alone.[1]

When we close our eyes to sleep, the ocular layer on our eyeballs is protected. So, when we sleep with our eyes open, this dries the tear film and can lead to Dry Eye Disease.[2]

Many people are unaware of having nocturnal lagophthalmos. To check for this, ask a family member to look at your eyes while you sleep, or recognise symptoms such as waking with blurry vision and irritating, itchy eyes.[3]


Woman lying awake on pillow

How do you treat nocturnal lagophthalmos dry eyes?

As with any condition, it’s important to find the right treatment for you when it comes to nocturnal lagophthalmos and dry eyes. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Lifestyle changes

Making small changes can make all the difference! Add water vapour to the air by adding a humidifier to your bedroom, and ensure you stay hydrated. Experts recommend drinking between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day if you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome.[4] So, be sure to leave a drink by your bedside. For more lifestyle tips, visit our blog: 10 Tips to Ease Dry Eye at Night

Use a warm compress

Putting a warm compress on your eyes before bed, like a MeiboPatch®, can help melt the oils blocking your Meibomian glands. This can minimise your Dry Eye symptoms at night![5] [6] Find out more: MeiboPatch®

Consider eye gel for dry eyes

You’re probably on the lookout for something that can soothe your eyes first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. One of the best treatments for nocturnal lagophthalmos and dry eyes is eye gels or eye drops. You can find your perfect treatment by reading this blog: Eye Drops vs Eye Gel For The Treatment of Dry Eyes


In most cases, the best way to treat dry eyes, Also known as dry eye syndrome, is to use eye gel or eye drops.

VisuXL Gel® is a preservative-free smart gel lubricant for dry eye syndrome. It provides comfort in a bottle with it’s long-lasting lubrication properties giving 12-hour dosing with just one drop and is suitable for both day and night use.

VisuXL® is a preservative-free eye drop lubricant for dry eye syndrome. Due to its unique ingredients, VisuXL® will help you recover from eye surgery, an injury or persistent damaging dry eye.

VisuEvo® is a preservative-free eye drop that prevents excessive evaporation of the tear film. Its unique formula contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamins A and D and ultra-filtered phospholipids that facilitate tear film presentation and control evaporation.

All three products are contact lens-friendly and can be used for 180 days after opening.

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  1. Benisek, A. ‘Can You Sleep With Your Eyes Open?’, WebMD, 11/08/2022. Accessed June 2023.
  2. Takahashi A, Negishi K, Ayaki M, Uchino M, Tsubota K. ‘Nocturnal Lagophthalmos and Sleep Quality in Patients with Dry Eye Disease’, Life (Basel). 2020 July 4;10(7):105. Accessed June 2023.
  3. Cadman, B. ‘What happens if a person sleeps with their eyes open?’, Medical News Today, 13/02/2023. Accessed June 2023.
  4. Complete Eye Care, ‘How Does Hydration Affect My Eyes’. Accessed June 2023.
  5. Baumann A, Cochener B. ‘Meibomian gland dysfunction: a comparative study of modern treatments’, J Fr Ophtalmol. 2014 Apr;37(4):303-12. Accessed June 2023.
  6. MeiboPatch® Instructions for Use (IFU). Accessed June 2023.
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