Sleeplessness is becoming a more widespread problem as the pace of modern-day society increases at breakneck speed. Rarely do people have the time to stop and think what effect their lack of sleep is having on their overall health. Fewer still acknowledge that sleep deprivation may be extremely harmful to the eyes—above and beyond those unsightly bags that form under the eyes after one too many restless nights.
Aesthetics aside, not getting a good night’s sleep may also have a detrimental effect on your vision. Empirical studies have shown that the human eyes need at least five hours of restful sleep to revive themselves. Just like many other organs in the body, without a necessary rest period, the eyes do not perform as well as they should. Dry eyes, itching, redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, popped blood vessels, and undue strain on the eyes may result from lack of rest. One of the more serious side effects of sleeplessness is vision loss. This vision loss is commonly linked to a condition called Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (AION), which is caused by damage to the optic nerve from insufficient blood supply.
While many people think that a morning’s squirt of Visine and some cucumbers over the eyes are an adequate cure for some of the aforementioned problems, they are gravely mistaken. The problem is internal. The health of our bodies and eyes is not something that should be thoughtlessly sacrificed to the harrying demands of our jobs and responsibilities. Sleep is not something that should be an afterthought in our daily lives; it should be an absolute priority. Our vision and collective health depends on it. If you continue to have a hard time getting some shut-eye night after night after making sure to get into bed at an early hour and to cut back on stimulants such as coffee, tea, and cigarettes before bed, perhaps you should consult a doctor to make sure you can once again make the most out of the human body’s most ameliorative pastime: sleep. Your eyes will thank you for it.