Why Does My Dry Eye Seem Worse In The Mornings?

Do you wake up after a long night’s rest with stinging eyes? Do your eyes feel itchy or scratchy? If so you could be suffering from dry eye syndrome. But what causes some people to experience these more severe dry eye symptoms in the morning?


Blepharitis is mainly caused by a build-up of bacteria on your eyelids at the base of your eyelashes. Having bacteria on the skin is not a cause for concern and is in fact completely normal, however, too much can cause problems. Blepharitis can also be caused if the oil glands in the eyelids become clogged.


Often overlooked, your sleeping environment can be the reason for your dry eyes. Sleeping around air vents, heating systems or even a ceiling fan can dry out your eyes.


Medication can often come with side effects, one of these being dry eye. Some of these include:

  1. Pain relievers
  2. Antidepressants
  3. Antihistamines
  4. Chemotherapy medications
  5. Skin medications

If you are experiencing dry eye and are on medicine check the information leaflet to see if your dry eye could be medicine related.

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos is a condition that prevents your eyes from closing completely when you sleep. Due to the eyes being left exposed the eyes become dry. Although this doesn’t seem serious, if left untreated you could end up damaging the cornea.


As we age many of our bodily systems become less efficient or in some cases stop completely. Those over the age of 50 can expect their tear production to decrease, leading to dry eye syndrome.

Contact Lenses

Although modern silicone hydrogel materials with high oxygen transmissibility used in the latest contact lenses have essentially eliminated this issue there are still people who suffer from dry eye caused by their contact lenses. It is actually one of the main reasons people decide to switch back to glasses after wearing contacts.

Oxygen flow to the eye is limited by the presence of the contact lens on the cornea. Since oxygen is needed by the eye to develop natural tears, the eyes become dry and sore.

Preventing Morning Dry Eye

In some cases, it is certainly possible to prevent morning dry eye, depending on what is causing the issue. People with dry eyes may benefit from using a heated eye mask which can help improve eye hydration, reduce inflammation and increase oil production. If your bed is placed next to an air vent or heating unit, you may consider reorganising the layout so that your bed is as far away as possible.

Treating Dry Eye

If you are struggling to control your dry eye and are waking up to stinging, painful eyes in the morning that look red and inflamed, get in contact with Camden Opticians. Our expert optometrists will help to determine the cause of your dry eye and can recommend a tailored treatment plan. One of our most effective dry eye treatments, called NuLids, has helped many people find long last relief from their dry eye symptoms.