Dry Eyes in the Morning: Coping with Morning Eye Discomfort

Nishi Kashyap
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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dry eyes in the morning

Waking up with dry eyes is a common and uncomfortable experience for many individuals.

It can be annoying and can disrupt the entire morning routine.

According to Optometrists.org, dry eyes concern more than 50% of adults.

It is essential to find out the root cause of dry eyes in the morning in order to treat it.

This article will explore the causes of morning eye dryness and provide some tips on dealing with it. 

Keep reading to learn how to wake up with eyes that feel comfortable and refreshed.

Causes of dry eyes in the morning

Dry eyes in the morning can occur due to several reasons.

Some of them are explained here:

Nocturnal exposure

Some individuals sleep with their eyes partially open, a condition known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. 

This exposure to the air can result in increased evaporation of tears.

Nocturnal lagophthalmos worsens, especially in the morning, leading to dry eyes.

Low humidity

Low humidity levels in your sleeping environment can also exacerbate morning dry eye symptoms

Dry air can lead to increased evaporation of tears while you sleep.

It will make your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable upon waking.

Also Read: Do you think that your hydration level has led to dry eyes in the morning? Find out if it is possible in our article “Can Dehydration Cause Dry Eyes?

Inadequate tear production

Improper tear production can also contribute to dry eyes in the morning.

According to the American Optometric Association, there are many explanations for why your eyes might not produce enough tears. 

These reasons include the following:


Aging can be one of the natural causes of dry eyes

As people get older, tear production tends to decrease, and the composition of tears may change.

It may lead to increased symptoms of eye dryness.


Certain medications, such as antihistamines, can decrease tear production.

It can more likely make the eye dry in the morning.

If you notice persistent dryness or discomfort in your eyes while taking medications like antihistamines, it is crucial to consult with a medical expert. They can provide solutions to alleviate your symptoms and ensure your eye health is prioritized.

Eye conditions

Pre-existing eye conditions like Blepharitis and Meibomian gland dysfunction may contribute to low tear production.

Blepharitis is eyelid inflammation causing redness, itching, and irritation, mainly due to blocked oil glands or bacterial overgrowth.

These conditions contribute to dry eyes and may be more noticeable in the morning.

Managing morning dry eyes

There are various ways to treat dry eyes in the morning.

It includes the following:

Adjust medications

Consult your doctor about adjusting medications that may be contributing to your dry eyes. 

They can help you provide alternative treatments with fewer ocular side effects.

Use a humidifier

Add a humidifier to your bedroom. It can help maintain optimal humidity levels while you sleep.

It helps in reducing the risk of dry eyes in the morning.

Eye lubricants

prescribed eye dropsSource: martin-dm_from_Getty_Images_Signature
Eye drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can provide relief from morning dryness. 

These can be applied before bedtime and upon waking.

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Warm compress

One of the most effective solutions for dry eyes is using warm compresses. 

Apply a warm, moist washcloth over closed eyelids for 5-10 minutes.

It will allow the heat to promote tear production and help relieve eye dryness. 

This can be done several times a day as needed.

Nutritional supplements

Adding nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can help treat dry eyes naturally

Foods rich in omega-3s can improve the quality of your tears and help reduce inflammation.

Examples of such foods include salmon, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

Alternatively, you can take omega-3 supplements for dry eyes after consulting with a healthcare professional.

Eyelid hygiene

Keeping your eyelids clean and free of debris can prevent conditions like Blepharitis. 

Use a gentle, preservative-free eyelid cleanser to clean your eyelids daily. 

This can help improve the quality of your tears and reduce irritation.

Try to consciously blink your eyes before falling asleep and upon waking up. 

Blinking helps distribute tears across the eye’s surface, keeping it moist and comfortable. 

Consult an eye specialist

Optic nerve swelling causesSource: Elnur
Consult an eye specialist

If morning dry eyes persist or worsen despite trying these remedies, seeing an eye specialist is essential. 

They can diagnose any underlying eye conditions and recommend appropriate treatment.


Dry eyes in the morning can be annoying and disrupt your morning schedule.

Understanding the causes, such as nocturnal exposure, low humidity, and improper tear production, is essential.

Simple solutions like adjusting medications, using a humidifier, and applying eye lubricants can provide relief. 

Warm compresses, nutritional supplements, and proper eyelid hygiene are effective strategies. 

If problems persist, consult an eye specialist for a personalized solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the causes of dry eyes in the morning?

Morning dry eyes can be due to nocturnal exposure, low humidity, and less tear production. Medication’s side effects and pre-existing eye conditions like Blepharitis may also contribute to dry eyes. It is essential to consult an eye specialist in case of discomfort.

Are there any medications to treat dry eyes?

Are there any medications to treat dry eyes?
Yes, there are medications to treat dry eyes. These medications are often in the form of lubricating eye drops or ointments. They can help add moisture to your eyes and relieve dryness and discomfort.

Can eye problems contribute to morning dry eyes?

Yes, eye problems like Blepharitis or Meibomian gland dysfunction can contribute to morning dry eyes. These conditions affect tear production and can make your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable when you wake up.

How can I fix dry eyes in the morning?

To reduce morning dry eyes, consider using lubricating eye drops, applying a warm compress, and practicing proper eyelid hygiene. Consult your doctor for medication adjustments or see an eye specialist if symptoms persist. A humidifier in your room can also help.

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