Baby Sleeps With Eyes Open: What Expert Say About It
Our babies are adorable yet weird creatures. One day they're sleeping like any human should; the next day you see them sleeping with eye open.
Is that normal?
Well, we've seen a lot of adults sleep that way too, haven't we?
Nonetheless, it's still nice to know if we should shrug it as something that will pass away someday or we should be worried about his development.
So here's what I found out about it.
“Zombie Kid”: Sleeping With Eyes Wide Open
Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the medical term used for babies sleeping with eyes open, also called as “Zombie Kid” syndrome. It may appear disturbing the first time you see this, but don’t worry, most likely your child is just fine.
Nocturnal lagophthalmos is fairly common in babies and usually disappears on its own at around 12 – 18 months. Before this time, baby sleeping with eyes open is considered normal.
In adults, however, nocturnal lagophthalmos is considered a type of facial paralysis, particularly a certain muscle in the eyelid.
What Makes My Child Sleep With Eyes Open?
As previously mentioned, nocturnal lagophthalmos is fairly common in babies. They usually outgrow it in between their first and second birthday.
Should you be alarmed?
This is not a cause for alarm for kids, but parents must manually close their baby’s eyes.
Your baby’s eyes can dry out and get scarred over time if the eyelids are always just partially closed.
Nocturnal lagophthalmos is caused by:
You will most likely observe your little one sleeping with eyes open during the times when he/she is too tired. It may be past his bedtime, and he just passed out due to sheer exhaustion.
2. REM sleep
Some babies open their eyes during their deep sleep phase, also called the REM sleep cycle. Your child might be actively dreaming during this time. You may also observe him/her smile or laugh, which is just alright.
REM sleep is longer in babies than in adults, so you may see your little one's eyes open most of the time.
This is harmless and fairly normal. If you are bothered by this, just put your hands on baby’s eyelids and gently close it.
Ask your parents or your in-laws if you or your partner tends to sleep with eyes open at your baby’s age. This condition is usually inherited but, again, is not a cause for concern.
4. Short or weak eyelids
It is rare but also possible that your child is born with short or weak eyelids, also called congenital ptosis. Weak eyelids cannot cover the eyes entirely during sleep. Thus part of the eye is exposed.
5. Medical conditions
Aside from nocturnal lagophthalmos, sleeping with eyes open may also be caused by damaged facial nerves, thyroid problems, or tumors.
These are rare occurrences, though, and it usually happens in adults. But it is still better to be safe than sorry.
What Shall I Do If My Baby Sleeps With Eyes Wide Open?
1. Turn off lights
Turn off lights in her sleeping area when she's sleeping. If there are other light sources like windows or other openings, cover them.
Add humidifier in the sleeping are to avoid dryness or damage to the cornea suggests the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
3. Medical grade hypoallergenic tape
Use medical grade hypoallergenic tape to keep the eyes closed. But take note that you can only use this upon your doctor's advice.
4. Avoid using ceiling fans
If you have no other option, make sure to turn it down when your baby is sleeping.
As I said before, this condition is considered harmless in babies. This is not a sleep problem and not a cause for concern. This usually resolves on its own as your baby grows.
If your baby wakes up with red eyes and seems to rub them vigorously, chances are your child has dry eyes due to this strange sleep habit. If she is also unusually sensitive to lights, you have to do something about it.
Better seek advice from a pediatrician or an ophthalmologist if your baby’s eyes appear irritated or if this condition persists longer than 18 months of age.
Your doctor will tell you if your baby will be needing a comprehensive eye exam, which may include the Schirmer test. This test is used to measure tears.