Sounds creepy, doesn’t it? Somebody lying there, eyes open with a dead stare, looking all zombie-like.
The technical name for sleeping with your eyes open is Nocturnal Lagophthalmos.
It’s most commonly found in young children. We’ve all probably seen a baby soundly sleeping away without his or her eyes fully closed.
The condition is not serious and is usually outgrown.
In adults it gets a little more serious. It is usually a result of facial paralysis triggered by stroke, infection or surgery.
Here’s where the problems arise. Aside from keeping light out, eyelids keep the eye lubricated with tears, which have natural antibiotics to kill bacteria and viruses. Who would have thought harmless tears were teeming with mini bacteria-killing Rambos?
Consequently, Nocturnal Lagophthalmos can cause inflammation, infection, ulcers and scarring on your eyeballs. Patients have said their eyes, “Feel like sandpaper.” Sounds about as comfortable as underwear made out of thorn bushes.
There are various forms of treatment. Mild cases can be fixed by wearing a sleep mask. The most serious cases involve a gold weight surgically inserted in the eyelid to use gravity to help keep the eyelid shut.