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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : I have very dry eyes in the morning. I had cataract surgery about 2 years ago. Could there be a connection? What do you suggest?
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The Trusted Source
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Don Carl Bienfang, M.D, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and the director of neuro-ophthalmology and senior surgeon of the Department of Ophthalmology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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November 22, 2011
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A:

Two possibilities:

  • You are sleeping with your eyes partially open at night. Ask someone!
  • More likely is that while your eyes feel dry, they are actually being irritated overnight because of a problem called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

The meibomian glands are located in the eyelids. They make and secrete an oily substance that keeps tears from evaporating. If there is a problem with these glands, they might not produce enough oil or the oil might be too thick and irritate the eye.

Usually people with truly dry eyes feel their best in the morning after their eyes have been closed all night. (I am assuming you had surgery complications that damaged your corneas).

To treat MGD, try a combination of some or all of the following:

  • Add Omega 3 to your diet.
  • Use over-the-counter lubrication drops when you wake up.
  • Practice lid hygiene before going to bed and when you wake up .

Lid hygiene is easy. You can buy lid wipes to clean the eyelids. I recommend the CVS brand of lip wipes. Or you can buy a bottle of no-tears baby shampoo. Use a drop on your finger tips to clean the lids before going to bed. Then wash the soap off after cleaning the outside of the lids.

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