April 18, 2012
If you’re one of those people who can sleep with their eyes opened, then Lucky might as well be your name. Think about it. You wouldn’t need to pretend to be awake when feeling disinterested or sleepy inside the classroom as you listen to your boring lecturer. You wouldn’t need to hide in the workplace to ditch any stressful work. Because of your open eyes, your boss will instantly assume that you’re pondering over your work as you nap your day away. But this article is not about teaching you more ways to cheat. Sorry. You might want to know why you sleep with eyes opened. Let me tell you some of the reasons and facts behind it.
By human nature, closing our eyes when asleep is an instinctive function of our body. Studies tell us that we need about 7.5 hours of closed-eye rest to repair any eye damage caused by sunlight, wind, ultraviolet waves, etc. The closed eye replenishes the liquid that it needs to stay smooth and fluid. Also, whenever we dream, there are eye movements that occur for the dream cycles.
However, some people sleep naturally with the eyelids of one or both eyes slightly apart. This leads to the medical condition called Nocturnal Lagophthalmos. People with this disorder have a form of facial paralysis in a sense that they are not able to close their eyelids during sleep. When awake, they are unable to perform full blinks. Thus, a part of the eye does not receive enough lubrication from tears.
Probable causes of Nocturnal Lagophthalmos include the following: genetic inheritance, Bell’s Palsy, thyroid dysfunction, scarring of the eyelid, bacterial eye infection, hypnotic drugs, damage of the facial nerves, alcohol intoxication, stroke and trauma. In most cases, this disorder is outgrown. But this doesn’t solve the fact that the eyes become exposed to the open atmosphere. Eventually, they begin to dry out significantly. This could result to pain, redness of the eyes, blurry vision and increased light sensitivity.
People who suffer from this condition are advised to regularly use eye drops for additional lubrication which would encourage an increase in the production of tears. Patients should consult a physician for diagnosis or possible surgical procedures that would correct the eyelids.