How to relieve dry or watery eyes at nighttime

Woman smiling while removing makeup with a facial wipe

After a whole day in front of a screen or wearing lenses, it’s quite common to have dry, itchy or watery eyes at night. To contribute to eye discomfort, dry air in the bedroom and a slower blood circulation reaching the eyes during sleep can cause your eyes to feel irritated. In this article you’ll discover more potential causes and triggers, easy ways to relieve your eyes, and tips on how to help them feel more comfortable.

‘Why are my eyes watery at night?’

To know how best to relieve the symptoms, it’s worth considering why your eyes get itchy and watery at night.

  • Do you spend a lot of time looking at screens in the evening?
  • Do you wear your contact lenses right up until shut-eye time?
  • Do you sleep in an air-conditioned or centrally heated room?
  • Are you in smoky or dusty places close to bedtime?

Watery eyes at night

Whether you’re experiencing dry or watery eyes at night, they can be down to the same reason. If the glands in your eyelids aren’t functioning properly, they might not secrete the oily substance that slows down the evaporation of your tears between blinking. That can cause dry patches on your eyes, and extra tears are produced as a reflex.

If your eyes get watery at night, keep a box of tissues on your bedside cabinet. They’ll wipe away your tears gently without irritating your eyelids.

How to help dry or watery eyes at night

Whether your eye weeps at night or is very dry, there are various ways to relieve your symptoms:

  • Clean your eyes carefully before bed.
  • Use a humidifier to stop the air in the bedroom getting dry.
  • Get plenty of sleep to rest your eyes.
  • Avoid looking at screens late at night.
  • Remove your contact lenses well before bedtime.
  • Avoid heated or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Avoid smoky, dry, dusty places.

Eye washing to help relieve itchy and watery eyes at night

Remove all makeup before going to bed, and then gently wash your closed eyelids with cool or lukewarm water. Use a gentle massaging motion with your fingertips around the area. You can then apply a warm compress to help soothe your eyes.

Is your eye swollen over night?

Watery eyes with swollen lids over night could be caused by an allergy, either to something in your bedroom, or to something you place on your eyes, like cosmetics or perfumed cream. Dust mites, mould and pet dander are common indoor allergens, so give your bedroom a thorough clean to remove any possible traces of potential allergens.

To treat an eye swollen over night, clean it thoroughly both before you go to bed and when you get up in the morning. As eyelid inflammation, or blepharitis, can also be caused by a bacterial infection, make sure you seek the advice of a medical professional if the inflammation is severe, or doesn’t get better with home remedies.

When to speak to a medical professional

Contact your doctor or optician is you experience any pain, tenderness or discharge, or if your eyes are persistently red.

Now that you know some of the reasons why you experience watery eyes at nighttime, and methods to relieve your symptoms, you can take action to soothe the area and get a good night’s sleep.

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