My eyes often feel heavy during the day. So much so that I can feel myself blinking more slowly. Or feeling the need to shut my eyes.
This is quite frustrating when I am trying to study, read, drive, watch TV, play video games, or even walk my dog. Sometimes the heaviness is accompanied by stinging and pressure, but other times it is just immense heaviness.
Thinking it meant I was sleepy
The most confusing aspect of feeling heaviness in my eyes is that I thought it meant I was sleepy. Sometimes even other people would ask me if I am sleepy or tired because I'd be blinking more slowly, or they'd see me struggling to keep my eyes open. There have been countless times where I've felt my eyes get heavy and dropped everything and went to be bed. Once I'd get into bed, I wouldn't feel sleepy at all. I'd rack my brain trying to figure out how I lost my sleepiness in just a couple of minutes.
For a long time, I did not realize that this is a symptom of chronic dry eye. I thought it had something to do with my light sensitivity or my chronic pain condition. While it was frustrating to deal with at times, I got used to it and wouldn't notice it much unless it got worse.
Understanding why my eyes feel heavy
Once I got diagnosed and did some research of my own, I learned that heavy eyes are a common symptom of dry eyes. While it took me a little while to wrap my head around that, it eventually made a lot of sense to me.
By constantly fighting dryness and inflammation, the eyes grow tired, creating a heavy feeling. Humidity and wind, along with irritants such as dust, can also contribute to the dryness and the overall strain put on your eyes.
How I treat it
Once I started using lubricating eye drops several times a day, I noticed that my eyes don't feel as heavy as they used to. It's not as hard to keep my eyes open. I also feel less anxious about my ability to study, drive, and complete other daily activities impacted by this heavy feeling in my eyes.
Now when my eyes feel heavy, I see it as a reminder to put in some eye drops and/or use a warm compress. By learning more about my condition, its symptoms, and how they present themselves for me specifically, I have become better at caring for my dry eyes and preventing severe symptoms.
Do you experience heavy eyes? How has it impacted your dry eye journey?
Have you ever canceled travel plans due to dry eye?