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How Does Sleep Affect Vision and Eye Health?

With daylight savings time approaching, I’m sure that there are many of us who are dreading losing an hour of sleep. Even though an hour doesn’t seem like much, it can really affect how a person feels and performs different tasks throughout the day. Not getting enough sleep in a night can also affect how our eyes perform. But how does lack of sleep affect vision and eye health? Read our blog article this week to find out!

How Does Sleep Affect Vision and Eye Health?

Getting the proper amount of shut-eye in the night is important to keep our body functioning at it’s best. The eyes also function at their best when we get enough sleep in a night. There are many things that happen to vision and eye health, beyond the feeling of tired eyes when we don’t get enough sleep. That is why it is important to really aim to rest your body and eyes when given the opportunity. Here are some of the side effects of how lack of sleep affect vision and eye health.

Tired Heavy Feeling Eyes

Having tired eyes from being overtired seems like a given side effect. But what causes our eyes to get tired? Our eyes have different groups of muscles that allow them to move and function. The muscles are like any other muscle in the body. When worked too much or for too long, they become fatigued and tired. Seeing that our eyes are working every waking minute of the day, they definitely deserve a sleep break to help them relax and replenish their strength.

Blurred Vision

Lack of sleep affect vision by causing blurring. This happens when eyes become tired and fatigued. Our eyes have tiny muscles within them, which helps the lens within the eye to change shape when looking at things. This allows us to be able to accommodate or see objects at different distances. Just like the explanation for why eyes feel heavy when tired, blurred vision happens for similar reasons. The tiny muscles within the eye become strained or tired from overuse. Because of this, they are no longer able help the lens within the eye focus, causing blurry vision.

Red Eyes

Red eyes are a common symptom when we are tired or underslept. This is because not getting enough sleep reduces the amount of oxygen to your eyes. This causes the tiny blood vessels within the eyes to dilate (open), which in turn makes your eyes appear red.

FY-EYE: Did you know the term for an overnight flight that leaves late from its departure and arrives early at its destination is commonly known as the “red eye“. This is because of the red eyes and eye fatigue symptoms that are associated with this type of travel!

Eye Twitches and Spasms

Our muscles in our eyes are a part of our sympathetic nervous system. The systems which control our involuntary actions like breathing and blinking. These muscles are very sensitive. So being overtired can cause this system to kick into high gear, causing the muscles in our eyes to spasm and twitch.

Dry Eyes

Blinking is our body’s way of naturally refreshing the eyes. Normally people blink an average of 12 to 15 times a minute. When our eyes become tired, we tend not to blink as often. As a result, our eyes become dry and irritated because they aren’t properly lubricated.

How to Fix Eye Symptoms Caused By Lack Of Sleep?

So now we know how sleep affect vision and eye health, how do we fix the symptoms? Most of the eye symptoms associated with lack of sleep are harmless. Although if you don’t get enough sleep for a prolonged period of time, it could lead to other problems. Really the only remedy for symptoms of lack of sleep is to get enough sleep! Getting enough shut-eye will allow tired eyes to return to their normal state.

Studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep per night to properly replenish.

If you feel that you have blurry vision, and don’t think it’s a result from lack of sleep, book a consultation with one of our optometrists. You can book your appointment by calling (403)255-2826 or book an appointment online.

Article written by Trina Vanaalst, Licensed Opticians and Contact Lens Practitioner


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