The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Sleep deprivation and dry eye and chickens and eggs

This abstract was... depressing. And not just because I really don't enjoy reading about animal testing. 

It's that while reading all the ways in which sleep deprivation compromises tear function, I can't help thinking of all those whose sleep deprivation is caused by compromised tear function, whether because they're setting their alarm to get up and add ointment to their eyes to prevent erosions, or the pain factor in general, or the stress from chronic eye pain. Talk about a vicious circle. I guess this is part of why I'm such a fan of taping eyelids down in severe cases.

Lube alone isn't enough. There are many excellent night products - dry eye shields, goggles, masks, and so on that are more convenient and more comfortable. But... when the chips are down and your corneal epithelium is running ragged, tape trumps them all.

Exp Mol Med. 2018 Mar 2;50(3):e451
Sleep deprivation disrupts the lacrimal system and induces dry eye disease.
Li S1,2,3, Ning K1,2,3, Zhou J1,2,3, Guo Y1,2,3, Zhang H1,2,3, Zhu Y1,2,3, Zhang L1,2,3, Jia C1,2,3, Chen Y1,2,3, Sol Reinach P4, Liu Z1,2,3,5, Li W1,2,3,5,6.

Sleep deficiency is a common public health problem associated with many diseases, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. In this study, we established a sleep deprivation (SD) mouse model using a 'stick over water' method and observed the effect of sleep deficiency on ocular surface health. We found that SD decreased aqueous tear secretion; increased corneal epithelial cell defects, corneal sensitivity, and apoptosis; and induced squamous metaplasia of the corneal epithelium. These pathological changes mimic the typical features of dry eye. However, there was no obvious corneal inflammation and conjunctival goblet cell change after SD for 10 days. Meanwhile, lacrimal gland hypertrophy along with abnormal lipid metabolites, secretory proteins and free amino-acid profiles became apparent as the SD duration increased. Furthermore, the ocular surface changes induced by SD for 10 days were largely reversed after 14 days of rest. We conclude that SD compromises lacrimal system function and induces dry eye. These findings will benefit the clinical diagnosis and treatment of sleep-disorder-related ocular surface diseases.