Dry eye disease linked to poorer quality sleep

Researchers from Beijing Institute of Ophthalmology found that patients with dry eye have a higher risk of unhealthy sleep duration

A woman sleeps on her side in a bed with a dark grey duvet and light sheets. The bed headboard is wooden and there is a wooden chair to one side of the bed
Pixabay/ Niels Zee

A systematic review of observational research examining associations between dry eye and sleep quality has found that those with the eye condition have poorer sleep quality than the general population.

The research, which was published in BMC Ophthalmology, analysed a total of 21 published studies on the topic.

The Beijing Institute of Ophthalmology scientists found that as well as having poorer sleep quality, people with dry eye disease had a higher risk of unhealthy sleep duration – such as insufficient or excessive sleep.

Compared to the general population, those with dry eye disease were more than twice as likely to experience a sleep disorder and more than three times as likely to get insufficient sleep.

The researchers suggested that poor sleep quality in dry eye patients could be due to light exposure and discomfort caused by incomplete eyelid closure.

Pain caused by inflammation may also be a contributing factor to problems with sleeping in dry eye patients.

The researchers also note that those with dry eye disease are more likely to experience anxiety and depression – conditions which can cause sleep disruption.