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Sleeping with Eyes Open

  I sleep with my eyes partly open, and the real problem is that this leads to dry eyes in the morning. Questions:
  1.  Is this an indication of any other problem?
  2.  Is there an effective treatment - i.e. way to make the eyes stay shut at night?
  3.  If not, is there a good sympomatic treatment?
Dear Daryl:
Some normal people sleep with their eyes slightly open. This symptom, however, should prompt a search for an underlying neurological problem, namely bilateral facial weakness. One of the more common causes of such a problem, particularly if it has gone unnoticed by the individual, is a form of muscular dystrophy called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. This may be quite mild in some cases and may present only as some asymptomatic facial weakness and mild shoulder girdle muscle atrophy. It runs in families from generation to generation.
While there is no way of treating several of the causes of facial weakness, eyes could be held closed by pads, or even by surgery in extreme cases. I strongly recommend an evaluation by an ophthalmologist, and also by a neuromuscular specialist, the former being more urgent for the care of your eyes.
Good luck!

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