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Why You Suffer From Dry Eye in the Morning

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Women in bed touching eyes caused due to dry eye

So you get to bed at a decent time, complete all your work for the day, and feel good. You drift off to sleep and wake up with some irritation and discomfort in your eyes. 

A wild flare-up of dry eye has appeared.

But we can never be fully prepared to deal with it. Working together with your optometrist can do wonders to assist with preparation and treatment.

You may wonder why you would suffer from dry eye in the morning, especially if you felt fine the night before. Our mornings are sacred, and anything that disrupts our daily routine is always inconvenient. 

Dry eye can appear at any moment.

Let’s explore why that may occur, including some steps you can take to alleviate your dry eye symptoms.

Early Morning Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or those tears evaporate too quickly. 

The resulting feeling can cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Redness 
  • Burning feeling in your eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

There are a variety of reasons you may wake up with dry eye:

  • Your eyelids aren’t remaining closed during sleep (nocturnal lagophthalmos)
  • You aren’t producing high-quality tears to lubricate your eyes
  • You aren’t producing enough tears to lubricate your eyes
  • Your environment is drying your eyes out

Your tear film consists of 3 layers: fatty oils, aqueous fluid, and mucus. This combination keeps your eyes lubricated, and any interruption to these layers can lead to dry eyes. Even overnight, while sleeping, this disruption can occur.

Some common reasons for inadequate tear production include: 

  • Age, dry eyes are common with older age
  • Medical conditions, including thyroid problems
  • Side effects from medication

There can be various factors, but knowing some of the causes may pinpoint your issues.

Women experiencing dry eye in the morning and touching eye

What Can You Do About Dry Eye in the Morning?

The first step is figuring out what could be causing your dry eye. The best way to do this is to visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Finding out the exact issue and what you can do to combat it as soon as possible is essential in avoiding future discomfort.

Some treatments your eye doctor may recommend:

  • Over-the-counter eye drops that add lubrication to your eyes
  • Stronger prescription eye drops
  • Eye inserts following a complete eye exam

It’s important to note that everyone is different, and your optometrist will be able to prepare a specialized treatment plan just for you.

Home Treatments for Dry Eye

Consulting with your eye doctor is the best option, but if you’re looking for relief at home, there are some simple methods you can try:

  • Washing your eyelids
  • Using a humidifier
  • Drinking water to keep your body hydrated
  • Taking a break from focusing on screens
  • Using an air filter to reduce dust around your home

These at-home treatments can provide relief, but if the issues persist, it’s recommended you make time to see your optometrist and explore a specialized treatment plan.

Defeating Dry Eye

After a good night’s sleep, waking up with dry eyes can put a serious dent in your day. Understanding why dry eyes may occur is the first step in getting past it. Prevention is key, and you can take steps to alleviate discomfort.

Book an appointment with your optometrist for more information and get to the bottom of your dry eye woes. Find relief today!

Written by Dr. Megan Baldwin

As a Kansas native (born and raised in Kingman), Dr. Baldwin is thrilled to practice what she loves so close to home. She can’t imagine anything better than to care for her community and build strong ties with new friends and colleagues.

When She’s not in the office caring for her patients, Dr. Baldwin enjoys making memories with her husband, Aaron, and two sweet kids, Parker and Stella! You’ll often find her playing piano, hosting her friends and family in her home, or out for a run. Dr. Baldwin and her husband enjoy traveling to warm places and recently became open-water scuba diver certified!

She chose eye care as her career because Dr. Baldwin has always wanted to help people. The quality of care she provides is incredibly important to her. In an age where doctors spend just a few minutes with their patients, she is proud to give her patients the time and diligence they deserve. More than to simply “see” you, Dr. Baldwin wants to learn more about you and how she can best serve your needs. Your relationship matters.

Dr. Baldwin invites you to make an appointment for yourself or your children, whether you have an eye concern or are simply seeking an updated corrective lens prescription. She will always do her best to provide you the best eye care available anywhere in Wichita.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Member, Kansas Optometric Association (KOA)
  • Member, American Optometric Association (AOA)
  • Member, Business Networking International (BNI)


  • Bachelor of Science (chemistry) – Bethel College, 2007
  • Doctor of Optometry – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, 2011
    • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • Member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society
    • Presented with “Outstanding Clinician in Ocular Disease” award
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