I cannot confirm that it is at all diet related. It started after around 8 months of being strict paleo and there was no sudden diet change around the time it started occurring.
It has caused recurrent corneal erosions. I have to keep my eyes closed upon waking and put moisturizing drops into the corners before I open them to avoid the erosions (doctor's orders). This is anytime I wake up, even only 2 hours after falling asleep my eyes will be this dry. I occasionally take 3mg of melatonin before bed, but have not noticed any difference in eye dryness whether I do or don't take it.
Things I have tried so far: 1) Using moisturizing 'oil' for eyes before going to sleep. Got it at the drugstore, didn't help at all. 2) Drink a big glass of water before bed to make sure I'm hydrated. This just makes me have to pee in the middle of the night, before which I must go through the process of putting in drops so I can open my eyes! 3) Being very, very certain that my eyes are completely closed while falling asleep. I was told that dry eyes can be caused by the eyes being partially open during sleep. No help.
Also, I do wear contacts/eyeglasses and notice no difference whether I wore contacts that day or not.
Any ideas? I know there was no sudden diet change around when it started happening, but I am inclined to think it must be in some way diet/specific food related.
I had severe dry eyes while eating too low carb. Following Dr. Paul's recommendations at "The Perfect Diet", I upped my carbs to his minimum of 50 grams of starch per day and the dry eyes went away. He says that minimum keeps mucus membranes intact and protective.
Ok, this is probably going to be controversial, but it solved the problem for me, and I have been suffering with dry eyes more years than I can remember (20 or so, I think).
Coconut oil. As in: I put it in my eyes every night before sleep (instead of those stupid, expensive eye drops/gels/ointments.) I have had zero issues with any sort of infection, and when I wake up, I don't have to rummage around for my eye drops before I can open my eyes. (As an aside, it has done wonderful things for the skin around my eyes, as well...very soft and supple.)
I am not willing to up my carbs to a degree sufficient to do away with this problem (if it would, indeed, do so.) There are other health issues (for me) that take priority as long as this one can be managed.
I decided to take this problem in hand when my husband had to have surgery due to a torn cornea (also caused by dry eyes). I don't want to follow in those footsteps!
Sorry you are going through this! Look online or ask your ophthamologist for a treatment procedure for dry eyes or blepharitis. Here's what I did/ do when necessary: Warm compresses, several times a day. Gently hold over your eyes. Naturally, keep everything fresh and clean. Very warm water. Gently once or twice a day, cleanse your lids, where your eyelashes grow, with gentle wiping motions. Use only preservative free drops. I found that the oily kind of eye-lid rub seemed to make me worse...but a little bit of coconut oil might just do the trick. Lots of breaks during the day and rest your eyes with your lids closed. Blink more often and more slowly. Wear wrap around sunglasses when out in the sun or wind. Definitely don't wear your contacts until this resolves, it will make a big difference when you finally feel better. All my suggestions so far that have helped me, please let us know how you are, hope this helps.
I have been through this. Try taking 3 or four fish oil capsules per day, that should help, plus the warm compresses. My dry eyes were not totally cured until I started taking Restasis. Talk to an ophthalmologist who is experienced in treating dry eye about this treatment, it works very well for most people.
Previous posters have made some great suggestions (warm compresses, etc).
Have you tried using a sleep mask at night? You may not be closing your eyes completely when you sleep. If you're prone to dry eyes, that will make it a lot worse. You can get a sleep mask at any drug store pretty inexpensively. Other options that many dry eye sufferers use include goggles and placing a square of plastic wrap over each eye.
You might also try some of the nighttime ointments like Refresh PM, Systane and Genteal also make them.
Using a humidifier at night can also be very helpful.
i have terrible eye irritation from pingueculitis. the cure would be to pay a surgeon to peel my eyeballs, i have read a lot of scientific literature and suspect that its nothing more than atherosclerosis, except on the out side of the eyeball. so, im taking a gram of vitamin C daily. i already did the Linus Pauling cure for heart atherosclerosis and can run up and down stairs without getting. winded this was befor i started paleo and my eyes improved about 75 percent. i use soothe XP eye drops and it really helps.you might try vitamine c i dont know if it will help you or not.
I do have dry eyes (especially bad after sleeping), but nowhere near that bad! For me, mine is mostly a combination of the eyes-not-fully-shut-while-sleeping, and also a hormonal imbalance. When I was taking birth control to balance my hormones, my vision improved and my eyes weren't nearly as dry.
Recently, since going off processed foods and eating a lot of healthy fats, my eyes are rarely very dry, though not quite what I would think of as normal. On the other hand, I've also been sleeping better and don't seem to have the slightly-opened-eyes issue either, so I don't know if my WOE is taking care of the eye issue, or the sleep issue which is taking care of the eye issue.
Could this be due to dry weather in winter? A humidifier might help. Or if not, some less efficient methods are to set out a large flat pan with water in your bedroom, or use a spray bottle filled with water.