Reasons you have dry eyes in the morning

Toni Lennox

02 October 2015

Waking up with dry eyes

Waking up with dry eyes is a fairly common affliction but this does not make it any less disorientating. Waking up to find your eyelids glued together is not the best way to start the day. Find out why this happens and what you can do to give your peepers the help they need…

It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul. This is a great sentiment, but sadly, can any of us truly say that we give our eyes the care they deserve?

It is common for most of us to take our eyes for granted. However, as we age proper eye care is essential. Dry eyes in the morning can be an indication that you need to start making some healthy lifestyle changes to protect your eyes.

There are many reasons why dry eyes occur in the morning.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eyes on waking could be a sign of Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, otherwise known as Dry Eye Syndrome (DES).

DES is a common eye disease which is caused by an abnormality in tear production that can lead to chronic lack of moisture on the surface of the eye. Tears are essential for good eye health as they contain many different essential elements, including oils, which prevent the evaporation of tears.

Symptoms of DES include itching, burning and a gritty feeling in the eye which gets increasingly worse as the day wears on.


Your environment can be the reason why you wake with dry eyes.

Windy climates can dry out eyes. Also, those who live in a city tend to develop dry eyes more than those who live in rural areas, due to higher levels of air pollution.

You could try: Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night to help moisten the air, and over time this can help to reduce dryness in your eyes upon waking.

Side Effects

Your dry eyes in the morning may also be caused by the side effects of certain medication. Taking medication at bedtime may dry out your eyes.

Certain underlying medical conditions can cause dry eyes when waking. Conditions, such as blepharitis, can cause dry eyes upon waking.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids.

Signs of blepharitis can include itchy and sore eyelids, eyelids that stick together, particularly when you wake up, and eyelashes that become crusty or greasy. If you believe that you are suffering from blepharitis don’t worry, this can easily be confirmed by your doctor, and can be cared for with simple cleaning measures.

Five fun facts about eyes

1. The average blink lasts for about 1/10th of a second.

2. While it takes some time for most parts of your body to warm up fully, your eyes are on their “A- game” 24/7.

3. Eyes heal quickly. With proper care, it only takes about 48 hours for the eye to repair a corneal scratch.

4. Seeing is such a big part of everyday life, so much so that it requires about half of the brain to get involved.

5. Newborns don’t produce tears. They make crying sounds, but the tears don’t start flowing until they are 4-13 weeks old.

Help for dry eyes- If you do suffer from dry eyes on waking there are many ways to deal with this which can help give your eyes the boost and protection they need…

Eye diet nom, nom, nom!

Dietary antioxidants are protective. Oxidative damage is associated with most degenerative eye diseases. So, it is important to give your eyes the antioxidant boost it needs.

Fruits, such as blackcurrant, are extremely high in vitamin C, four times higher than oranges. The powerful antioxidants found in blackcurrants contain anti-inflammatory properties. Blackcurrants also help to strengthen blood vessels and improve blood flow, which is essential to maintain good eye health.

Another great fruit to incorporate into your diet is blueberries as they contain a lot of vitamin C, which are thought to increase the rate at which the eye adapts to darkness.

Eat your essential fatty acids. Dry eyes require omega-3 fatty acids to help ease symptoms. To help your eyes naturally, don’t forget to take omega-3 daily as our bodies cannot produce these fatty oils on their own.

Refresh your eyes

Using eye drops can relieve dry, irritated or tired eyes.

A.Vogel Eye Drops provide rapid and long-lasting moisturisation to keep the eyes lubricated. These drops can be used when wearing contact lenses. Use one drop in each eye four to five times a day, or more often if necessary. Although these eye drops are suitable for long term use, professional opinion should be sought if symptoms persist for more than 30 days.

Do you have dry eyes in the morning? Try out the tips and let us know if any worked for you in the comment section below.

Meet the author

toni-bio-newToni enjoys writing about topical health stories and has a passion for animals. She regularly campaigns for animal rights and enjoys finding and reviewing all natural, cruelty free beauty products. She is a connoisseur of tea and has a passion for experimenting with new healthy, alternative diets and living an active and environmentally conscious lifestyle.  


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  • Ben's photo avatar
    Ben — 27.11.2017 03:59
    I had PRK surgery a couple years back. Ever since then, not really a day goes by that I my eyes don't hurt when I wake up in the morning. In fact, I can't open my eyes in the morning without eye drops, the pain is just too unbareable if I open them. I've spoken and worked with a couple different eye doctors, but nothing is helping yet. They want to try punctol tubes next I believe. I just don't know what the best option for me is anymore.


    • Morag's photo avatar
      Morag — 27.11.2017 11:46
      Hello Ben, Sorry to hear that your eyes are painful to open. You could try our A Vogel Eye Drops as an option, they are natural and many people report that they are more gentle than conventional ones.


  • Lil's photo avatar
    Lil — 28.10.2017 14:53
    It's hard to open my eyes when I wake up. It feels like sandpaper is under my lids. I have to sqeeze them shut pretty tight. Then they seem to be OK. I don't have any more trouble during the day.


    • Helen's photo avatar
      Helen — 30.10.2017 14:12
      Hello Lil, You could try A Vogel Eye drops to refresh your eyes. However, it is best to check your symptoms out with the optician too.


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