People with obstructive sleep apnea know that a CPAP machine has the power to make or break a good night’s sleep, but it does come with a few drawbacks. One of the most common complaints among consistent CPAP users is dry eyes. This side effect can lead to burning sensations, redness, light sensitivity, blurry vision, and scratchiness. Not only is that uncomfortable, but it can create eye infections and eye surface damage. Getting eight hours of shuteye with a CPAP machine doesn’t mean you should have to settle for red eyes the following morning. Here are the top three ways CPAP can cause dry, red eyes and how to prevent it.
Three Ways CPAP Causes Dry Eyes & How To Prevent It
Your trusty CPAP machine might be letting you catch some good quality Zs. Still, it just might be the culprit behind eye dryness, redness, and irritation at night without you even realizing it.
- Leaks in the CPAP mask or tubes. One of the most common ways a CPAP machine targets the eyes is through an air leak in the mask. Since the mask sits so close to the nose and eyes, even a small amount of air leaking can cause dryness. Fix any small leaks in the mask or tubes.
- Dirt and oil buildup on the mask cause it to adhere poorly to the face. CPAP masks can accumulate dirt and oil buildup along the edges, so the mask won’t wholly seal to your face. Try deep cleaning your mask so that dirt and oils don’t break the mask’s seal, causing air to escape. Be sure to use tube cleaning wands, mask wipes and sprays, and sanitizing machines regularly.
- Outside air sources blowing air across the eye’s surface. If you’ve checked your CPAP mask, and it’s free of any leaks, your pesky eye irritation could be from other sources in your bedroom. Ceiling fans, portable air conditioners, or windows can force air to move across the eye, even while it’s shut! Try sleeping with a closed mouth or in a new position.
Our Community Health Talk series addresses all sorts of topics about sleep, sleep disorders, using a CPAP, and other subjects of interest. Want to know more about dry eyes and other common issues experienced by CPAP users, and how to fix them? Sign up for our complimentary webinar, CPAP Answers With Andrew.
Need help getting better sleep? Schedule a virtual appointment to discuss your issue with a sleep specialist.