We all wake up with puffy eyes due to lack of sleep. When this happens occasionally, there is no need to worry. However, long-term lack of sleep can have an impact on your vision. Why does sleep deprivation affect the quality of your vision? What are the effects of sleep deprivation on your vision? Let's shed some light on these questions.

Why does lack of sleep affect the quality of your vision?

Lack of sleep is detrimental to your overall health. Having too many short nights or prolonged insomnia has a negative impact on your body.

When your body does not have time to rest properly, your memory capacity will be affected. In addition, you risk having a lower tolerance to stress and a weakened immune system.

Your eyes can be affected by a lack of sleep too. During the day, you may experience dry eyes and blurred vision. In addition, your eyes may be puffier, have dark circles under them or feel heavier than usual.

Your eyes need a minimum of 5 hours of rest per night. These 5 hours of sleep are necessary so that your body can regenerate and keep you going all day long. While you sleep, the muscles responsible for eye movement rest. Getting a good night's sleep also helps keep your eyes hydrated by producing the right amount of tears.

The effects of sleep deprivation on vision

When sleep deprivation hits, your eyes may sting. But as you can see, a few short nights of sleep won't have a negative effect on your vision. On the other hand, a prolonged sleep deficit can have repercussions on your ocular comfort—and vision.

These effects are not always visible or immediate. Here is a list of potential effects of sleep deprivation on your vision:

  • Dry eyes
  • Visual fatigue
  • Discomfort (itchy, watery eyes, etc.)
  • Vision that becomes blurred
  • Red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Spasms in the eyelids (myokymia)
  • A sensation of pressure in the eye

Lack of rest for your eyes over the long term can also increase the risk of developing glaucoma. Another eye condition can also develop due to a lack of sleep: ischemic optic neuropathy. You can lose your sight with this condition.

Feel free to ask your optometrist any questions about sleep deprivation during your annual eye exam.

Do not confuse sleep deprivation with visual fatigue

Eye fatigue can occur after a long period of visual focus. You strain your vision when you spend a lot of time doing precision work, reading, or looking at screens. This sustained activity for your eyes can make them tired.

Eye strain or eye fatigue can manifest itself as a pulling sensation or red or dry eyes. To counteract it, you can regularly moisturize your eyes with eye drops. It is also recommended to take short breaks by simply looking away for 20-30 seconds every 20-30 minutes.