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What Lack Of Sleep Does To Eyes

By Essilor News

Lack of sleep can affect all areas of health from thought processes to coordination, so it's no wonder it can also affect your eyes, too.

Let's talk about some cosmetic issues first. Many experts suggest that there's a correlation between lack of sleep and those dark circles or bags under your eyes. That's because lack of sleep tends to increase the retention of blood and fluid around the eyes.

Sleepy eyes are often dry eyes. Your eyes need a constant supply of tears for optimum function, which is why blinking is so important. Insomnia prevents eyes from getting needed fluid circulation. That fluid both cleans and renews the eyes-staying awake for an abnormal number of hours works against eye health.

Another and even odder consequence of sleep deprivation is eye spasms. Called myokymiathis involuntary eye twitching can be uncomfortable and distracting. Adequate sleep rests the body and all its eye muscles in turn, so the twitching should only be temporary. Even higher on the trouble scale might be popped eye vessels that can occur when a night's rest just doesn't come. Though they are usually not painful, the "bloodied eye" look is definitely not one most people cherish.

There are rarer eye conditions that are linked with sleep loss: one of those is Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (AION). Associated with people who have sleep apnea, this continued inflammation of the eye vessels could result in vision loss over time. Those severe conditions are unlikely for most deficient-sleep sufferers, but don't forget that consistently puffy, dry eyes after nights of tossing and turning can indicate you need to address the situation.

But how? There are a number of approaches: napping, reduced noise, getting more activity during the day, drinking less caffeine, good choice of sleeping temperature and more. Consciousness that there is actually a problem and taking the problem seriously is a great start. Of course there are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be of great benefit for the sleep-deprived, but overuse of those can create dependencies and also result in a quality of sleep that isn't as refreshing as natural sleep. Always talk to your doctor about the benefits and warnings of any medication you take.

People know when they are sleep-deprived -- you can be grouchy, fuzzy and just "off." Making the effort to understand what's causing your sleep loss and trying to remedy it can result in a brand new perspective on a new day.