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  • Why does my friend have to pry her eyes open with her fingers every morning?


    For over a year my friend has to rub her eyes and open them with her fingers every morning. They will not open by themselves and sometimes it takes some time to get them open. What could be wrong?


    Very common conditions such as dry eyes and blepharitis (when eyelids become inflamed and irritated due to clogged oil glands) can cause the apparent inability to immediately open the eyes in the morning. You should ask your ophthalmologist to determine the cause for the difficulty. In some patients, the eyelids do not close completely or form a tight seal while sleeping and the eyes can dry out overnight. In the morning the eyelid is physically stuck to the surface of the eye causing difficulty in opening the eye. Artificial tears gel or ointment before sleeping or immediately after waking is recommended to relieve this problem. Opening the eyes if they are very dry can result in a corneal abrasion.

    Another possibility is that the meibomian (oil) glands of the eyelids may not be working as they should. In this case, the natural oils of the eye may form an adhesion between the lids making it difficult to open the eyes in the morning. There are a variety of treatments, however, warm compresses and lid massage of the eyelids are sufficient for most patients.

    This question was originally answered on Nov. 30, 2015.

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