ZocdocAnswersWhy do I wake up rubbing my eyes?

Question

Why do I wake up rubbing my eyes?

I don't wake up and then rub my eyes? I wake up and I am already rubbing my eyes. Why does this happen?

Answer

Rubbing your eyes when you are first waking up is a common phenomenon. In fact, most people probably do this. There are a couple of common explanations for this. First, tears collect at the rim of the eyelids and dry out when you are sleeping. This produces the "crust" that you commonly feel around your eyes when you first wake up. This crust is a bit irritating, and so rubbing your eyes is a reflex that removes that crust. Similarly, your eyes tend to dry out a bit at night because of decreased tear production. Rubbing your eyes will stimulate the tear glands, leading to restored daytime levels of lubrication. If you have itching or redness of your eyes, on the other hand, then this is more a sign of allergic symptoms, which could be from seasonal allergies or allergies to something you come into contact with while asleep (such as dust or mites). This will also make you rub your eyes, maybe excessively. If you think you might have allergic symptoms, then you should talk to your primary care doctor. There are several excellent medications that you could use to decrease the itching and irritation if your doctor feels like you do have allergies.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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