Sleep affects eye health in a variety of ways. Here is why you should always strive for the best possible quality of sleep every night. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.
Have you ever struggled to recover from an all-nighter or a poor night’s sleep? Restorative sleep is essential for cellular repair and staying healthy, and if you don’t get enough sleep, your body and mind will pay a steep price. Research suggests that lack of sleep can have the same effect on the brain and body as alcohol consumption, so if you get behind the wheel of a car in a sleep-deprived state, you are essentially driving drunk.
Making sure you are always getting a good night’s rest is essential for preserving your eye health, but what you do with your eyes before bed will have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Here’s what you should know about sleep and eye health.
How Poor Sleep Quality Influences Ocular Function
You are likely acquainted with the side-effects of sleep deprivation — irritability, drowsiness, lack of focus, and sluggishness. However, over time, lack of sleep can compromise immune function, trigger weight gain, raise blood pressure, and even exacerbate symptoms of depression. In addition to reducing your overall quality of life and putting you at risk for serious health issues, all of these conditions can harm your eyes and make you more susceptible to cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
Everyone needs at least five hours of restorative sleep per night for optimum eye function. Not only do you need sleep to enhance your overall alertness, but you also need sleep to keep your eyes properly lubricated and reduce susceptibility to dry eyes and eye strain. Here are a few tips that can help you enhance the quality of your sleep.
Turn off your electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
It doesn’t matter how digitally savvy you are — your eyes will still respond to environmental factors the way all human eyes have for thousands of years. This means that light exposure will trigger brain signals that make winding down and going to sleep difficult. This is because the brain associates blue light from sunlight, but digital screens illuminate blue light, too.
Because blue light from screens — TV screens, computers, tablets, and smartphones — is omnipresent, it can be challenging to avoid being bombarded. However, it is essential to give the brain the opportunity to unwind properly. It’s not easy to turn off our communications devices for any extended length of time, but doing so will improve your ability to fall asleep easily.
Remove contact lenses before sleep.
While extended wear contact lenses are designed for enhanced breathability and have been FDA approved for multi-day wearing, it’s still a bad idea to sleep while wearing contact lenses. Wearing contact lenses during sleep inhibits the eyes’ ability to rest and rejuvenate. This is because contacts, even breathable ones, do limit oxygen exposure and block the flow of air to the corneas.
Have regular eye exams at a licensed and certified optometry center.
Make sure you stay on top of your eye health and bring any concerns you may have to your optometrist. Having regular screenings will help you keep your vision healthy, because they will alert you to any abnormalities that could progress into serious concerns.
At OptiExpress, we offer the South Florida community a trusted resource for all visual health needs. From comprehensive eye examinations to a gallery of designer frames, we provide the very best in eye care services.
OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s most respected optometrists and has practiced in South Florida for more than twenty years. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.