Does Sleep Deprivation Lead To Problems With Eyesight?

Not getting enough sleep can lead to a wide range of problems, such as fatigue, weight gain, and irritability. Sleep deprivation can even put you at a greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. What many people don’t realize is that a lack of quality sleep can lead to problems with eyesight, too.

What Eye Problems Can Occur from Not Getting Enough Sleep?

Just as your body needs time to rest and restore itself, so do your eyes. Studies show that the eyes need at least five hours of rest each night to be properly replenished. Without this sleep, the eyes won’t perform at their optimum level. Heavy eyelids and the need to constantly rub them are obvious signs that your eyes are tired. But, something else to pay attention to is eye spasms.

Eye spasms (myokymia) are a side effect of not getting enough sleep. They are twitches in the eye that sometimes won’t go away for weeks or months. These spasms are not serious and won’t harm your eyes, but they can be annoying. Once you start getting more rest, the twitches should stop.

If you don’t get more sleep, other problems can creep up. Here are a few complications of sleep deprivation.

Popped blood vessels. Broken blood vessels usually aren’t a cause for concern, but they can be visible in the eye and embarrassing for work or school. Blood vessels break for a number of reasons, such as coughing or sneezing too hard. If your eyes are strained from being tired, this could make the vessels more likely to pop.

Dry eye. A shortage of sleep can lead to dry eye, a condition that causes symptoms such as itchiness, redness, and light sensitivity. To avoid having itchy, painful eyes during the day, be sure to get the proper rest at night.

Eye infections. If your eyes are dry or irritated, what are you going to do more of? Rub them! Unfortunately, rubbing the eyes introduces bacteria, putting you more at risk for getting sick. Also, sleep deprivation lowers immune system efficiency.

Glaucoma. Without enough time to rest and heal, your eyes can develop more serious eye problems such as glaucoma. This occurs when too much pressure builds up in the back of the eye.


Central Serous Retinopathy. Lack of sleep and irregular sleep patterns can cause this. Central Serous Retinopathy causes visual impairment, typically temporary, and usually in one eye. When this disorder is active, it is characterized by leakage of fluids under the retina. This results in blurred vision.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, make some lifestyle changes first. If they don’t help, see your doctor. Suggestions for healthy sleep include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, exercising regularly, staying off electronics at night and keeping your room cool, dark and comfortable. With healthy sleep habits, you can restore your mental, physical, and optical health!