Spring has already arrived in Australia, and the temperature is starting to rise. It's hard sleeping at night when you are hot, so it is not surprising you are already using the ceiling fan to keep cool. However, waking up with dry eyes every morning is starting to be a strain. What you probably haven't realised is there is a connection between your ceiling fan use and your sore eyes. Here's everything you need to know about exposure keratitis but were afraid to ask!
What is exposure keratitis?
Exposure keratitis is a condition that occurs when your eyelids cannot entirely close. During the day, it is not much of an issue because your eyes are open anyway, but at night when you go to sleep, it becomes more of a problem.
When you lie down at night, your eyes are supposed to completely close and off to the land of nod you go. But, if your eyelids do not completely shut, then the part of the eye not covered is left exposed to dust and debris floating in the air.
Sleeping beneath a ceiling fan means that any contaminant in the air blows into the exposed portion of the eye. Additionally, the wind created by the ceiling fan causes moisture in the eye to evaporate. The result is dry, gritty eyes each morning.
Solving exposure keratitis
Stopping the use of your ceiling fan and using air conditioning instead is one way to slow down the effects of exposure keratitis at night. However, your bank account won't like the increased energy use when opting for this method of staying cool. Air conditioning also encourages the movement of contaminants around the room. Consider other, less expensive alternatives to protect your eyes such as:
- purchasing a sleep mask to wear over your eyes while you sleep
- taping the eyes closed using hypoallergenic tape or taping gauze pads over eyelids at sleep time
- using medication to increase the eye moisture at night
When you notice a trend of dry eye every morning, make an appointment with your optometrist. Menopause is another condition which causes overnight dry eye, so it is important to have your eyes checked by a professional rather than self-diagnosing. Once you receive a confirmed optometrist diagnosis of exposure keratitis, then you can make changes to your bedroom layout and your sleeping habits, so you can properly protect your eyes before you head off to bed each night.