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Does Lack of Sleep Cause Eye Strain? Know the Facts

Gina Walters



Struggling with tired and strained eyes after insufficient sleep is a common occurrence for many.

Long periods of sleep deprivation can cause eye strain, resulting in discomfort, blurred vision, focusing problems, and sensitivity to light.

Hence, it is essential to get enough sleep for your general wellness and comfort of your eyes.

In this article, we will delve into the answer to the question, “Can lack of sleep cause eye strain?”

Does lack of sleep cause eye strain

Yes, a lack of sleep can often lead to eye strain. Individuals require at least five hours of sleep to freshen up the eyes.

As you sleep, vital nutrients are absorbed by the eye which leaves your eyes feeling and looking healthy in the morning.

However, a lack of sufficient sleep reduces the absorption of vital nutrients by the eyes. It can lead to eye strain, as well as other harmful consequences. 

Therefore, a lack of sleep can lead to eye strain in several ways, such as dry eyes, eye spasms, blurry vision, and red eyes. 

Eye spasms

Eye spasms, also known as Myokymia, are involuntary twitches of the eyes. They are a common side effect associated with eye strain due to sleep deprivation. 

This side effect occurs when your eyelid experiences an unexpected, uncontrollable muscle contraction. 

Even if they do not permanently harm your eye health, eye spasms can be bothersome and distracting.

Fortunately, they are not a major issue and are readily resolved if you make sure you receive adequate rest each night.

Around 50-70 million Americans suffer from a sleeping issue.

Dry eyes

Frequent sleep deprivation puts additional strain on your eyes, leading to dry eyes and eye strain.

When the amount or quality of moisture in your eyes is not sufficient, it can cause dry eye syndrome. 

A lack of sleep restricts the production of tears and hence prevents your eyes from being fully lubricated. 

Dry eyes can lead to soreness, itching, redness, sensitivity to light, and impaired vision.

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Blurred vision

A lack of sleep leading to eye strain can cause blurriness in your vision.

While you’re awake, your eye muscles remain active, especially during focus-intensive activities or prolonged screen usage. 

As a result, the muscles in charge of regulating the shape of the lens and the movement of the eye may get exhausted.

Due to tiredness, these muscles can not focus or adapt to different distances, leading to temporary changes in vision. 

This may cause visual problems, making objects look blurry or out of focus.

Red eyes

Red eyeSource: Pixelshot
A closeup of an eye Suffering from Red eye

People who don’t get enough sleep frequently have tired and strained eyes, which may lead to redness in the eyes. 

Red eyes can result from extended usage of screens or or from focusing on activities for long periods without rest.

Due to sleep deprivation, people may unintentionally rub their eyes to relieve fatigue or discomfort.

However, this can worsen the condition and cause redness because of the additional friction and pressure on the sensitive tissues.

Eye strain can lead to several symptoms that may affect your vision. Read our article: How to Identify and Treat Eye Strain Symptoms?to know more

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Preventing eye strain due to sleep deprivation

Adopting the following measures can significantly reduce the eye strain associated with lack of sleep.

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep every night
  • Stick to the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes when using a screen and focus for at least 20 seconds on anything 20 feet away
  • To lessen eye strain brought on by an excessively bright screen, lower the brightness and use anti-glare filters
  • Keep all electronic devices out of your bedroom while sleeping
  • Ensure that your bedroom is cold, quiet, and dark
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks and alcohol before going to bed
  • To reduce eye strain, try some easy eye exercises like rolling your eyes, focusing on close and far objects, or softly massaging your temples
  • Use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears that may be purchased to keep your dry eyes relaxing and moisturized
A lack of sleep can lead to more serious sleeping problems like Sleep Apnea and Restless Leg Syndrome.

Summing up

Sleep is essential for preserving eye health. A lack of sleep causes eye strain which can further result in several eye issues.

These include dry eyes, eye spasms, blurred vision, and red eyes.

You can reduce the risk of eye strain from sleep deprivation by adopting better sleep habits and taking breaks during extended screen time.

Also, using lubricating eye drops to relieve dryness and avoiding excessive eye rubbing aid in preventing eye strain due to sleep deprivation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sleep deprivation lead to eye strain?

Yes, sleep deprivation can lead to eye strain. 
Lack of sleep can cause your eyes to become tired, dry, and inflamed, which can cause pain and strain.

How can sleep deprivation impact eye health?

Lack of sleep can lead to several symptoms that cause discomfort and eye strain. 
These include dry eyes, increased sensitivity to light, eye muscle tiredness, and redness from dilation of the blood vessels

Is blurred vision a result of sleep deprivation?

Yes, sleep deprivation can cause eye strain and tired eye muscles, which can impair focus and temporarily blurred vision.

How can I avoid the eye strain that comes from sleep deprivation?

Make sure you get enough rest, follow the 20-20-20 rule, take breaks from screens, maintain good posture and lighting, and use lubricating eye drops as needed can help in overcoming eye strain.

Will my eye strain be reduced if I change my sleeping habits?

Yes, you may greatly lessen eye strain by getting better and longer sleep. 
Maintaining proper sleep hygiene lowers muscular tiredness, keeps the eyes hydrated, and improves the general health of the eyes.

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