News & Blog

News & Blog

Does Lack of Sleep Damage Your Eyesight?

17th February, 2015  


If you’ve had trouble sleeping lately and you think this may have effected your vision stick around, as this week The Eye Blog asks; does lack of sleep damage your eyesight?


Why do you need to protect your eye health? The Eye Blog tells you why


As vision experts, The Eye Blog understands that your eyes are not indestructible. Like any other part of the body, your eyes may deteriorate as you live your life, impacting your ability to see if allowed to go unchecked.

In other words everyone needs to protect the health of their eyes. Human beings need to eat the right foods, avoid bad habits i.e. smoking etc. to protect their vision. Yet we would also suggest that you also need to ensure you get the right amount of sleep every night to safeguard your sight.


Why do we need to sleep?


Why? Let’s start with why your body needs to sleep. According to the BBC, this is a question that has plagued experts throughout the length of human history. Nobody is exactly sure why we need to sleep.

Yet experts are agreed upon the fact that we do need to do it. Evidence shows that lack of sleep leads to loss of brain function. This can spur symptoms such irritability, forgetfulness and grogginess. Experts also suggest that extended lack of sleep can have an impact on general physical health as well as mental health.


Eyes need five hours sleep to replenish


So what does this mean for your eyes? Does this mean that lack of sleep can damage your sight? Yes and no.

According to Simon Eye Associates, studies have shown that the eye needs a minimum of five hours to replenish during sleep. Without adequate sleep your eyes can’t work to their full potential. This is where it gets complicated. On its own lack of sleep probably won’t do any actual damage to your eye but it will exacerbate pre-existing conditions.


Lack of sleep exacerbates pre-existing conditions



Let’s look at how this may play out. Say you spend the majority of your day looking at a computer screen for work purposes. You’re at danger of straining your eye. If you don’t get enough sleep you’re more likely to strain your eyes to see due to a lack of concentration spurred by your exhausted state, which may lead to consequences such as popped blood vessels that could damage your sight.

Another way that lack of sleep can damage your sight is that it can make dry-eye worse. Dry eye is a condition that spurs an inflammation of the eye due to inadequate tear secretion. When you don’t sleep your body runs on fumes, making it harder for it to produce the tears you need to prevent conditions such as dry eye.


Lack of sleep can spur eye spasms


Yet there is one eye-related condition which can be specifically caused by a lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can cause you to start experiencing eye spasms.

Known as Myokymia, these spasms are defined as involuntary twitches that occur when you experience a spasm in your eyelid. According to Your Sight Matters, the spasms won’t damage your vision and aren’t particularly painful but they can be disruptive and aggravating.


How much sleep do you need?


Despite this we soon see that a lack of sleep can actually damage your sight, if only because it leads to an overall decrease in physical fitness that can exacerbate pre-existing eye conditions. How much sleep should you be getting to prevent this from happening?

The experts disagree on this one as well. Although your eyes need five hours of sleep to replenish, experts somewhat agree that your body as a whole needs more to maintain physical fitness. The BBC suggests that ultimately it varies from person-to-person, yet most people need between five and 11 hours of sleep per night, with the average being 7.75 hours.


How to overcome lack of sleep


In conclusion, evidence suggests that a lack of sleep can damage your sight. That’s why here at The Eye Blog we would suggest that you do everything you can to ensure you get your eight hours a night so you can protect your sight. Yet this can be a problem if you have trouble sleeping.

There are several measures you can try to overcome a lack of sleep. Start by scheduling your sleep, so your body has a specific time it can utilise to replenish. If this isn’t the problem, try common solutions such as limiting your caffeine intake before bed or reducing stress levels or worst comes to worst, seeking medical help. That way you can ensure that lack of sleep isn’t allowed to wreak any havoc on your eyesight.