Ceiling Fan Effect In My Eye? (Dry Eyes & Vision Problems)

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The rapid air movement from your ceiling fan may cause dryness in your eyes. If you fall asleep without completely closing your eyelids, you’re at risk of developing the condition. Treatment for dry eyes may mean you stop using the ceiling fan. However, you can also use eye drops or gels, take anti-inflammatory drugs, and wear a sleep mask to bed. On a different note, vision problems associated with ceiling fan effects could indicate ocular migraines or retinal detachment.

Electric fan and AC units are life-saver during the hot summer season. I’m one of those people who uses a fan to save extra on electric bills.

Although it gives me comfort from the heat, what I didn’t know is sleeping with the fan on could cause harm to our eyes especially, if you have problems closing your eyelids down when falling asleep.  

What causes dry eyes?

Most people fall asleep without completely closing their eyelids. They are at risk of having dry eyes. Sleeping with a fan could make their condition worse.

Our eyes are covered with a thin film of fluid or tear mixtures to keep them healthy and prevent them from infections.

However, the air that blows from a fan may restrict our tear glands from producing enough fluid for the film. Thus, causing the eyes to dry, resulting in inflammation and other complications. 

Symptoms of dry eyes may include the following:

  • Stinging, burning, and itchy feeling
  • Excessive watering or tearing
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Gritty or sandy sensation
  • Light sensitivity like in computer screens
  • Heavy or tired feeling on the eyes

Usually, dry eyes can be easily treated and wouldn’t cause complete loss of vision. However, untreated dry eyes may lead to chronic dry eyes or dry eye syndrome, causing further problems like:

  • Damage to the cornea or keratitis
  • Eye infection or inflammation
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Vision loss
  • Worsening of symptoms like eye redness and light sensitivity

Because many factors could cause dry eyes, you may want to start by turning off your electric fan when sleeping.

Many patients with the same condition felt their eyes get better after not using the fan anymore.

Tips if you can’t sleep without a ceiling fan on

You might be one of many who can’t sleep at all without the ceiling fan on.

If that’s the case, try going through these 11 tips to see which can help you sleep with a ceiling fan on.

1. Put on a sleeping mask

A woman is using a sleeping mask while sleeping in her bed so that the ceiling fan doesn't make her eyes dry overnight.

It will help you cover your lids, protecting them from the blow of air. 

2. Hypoallergenic tape

Your doctor may recommend you use this to shut your lids when sleeping.

3. Eye plugs

Lacrimal plugs or punctal plugs will prevent the loss of tears from your glands. These are small devices that will block the holes of your tear ducts.

4. Use a humidifier

It will increase the moisture of air that your fan blows, lessening your chances of getting dry eyes.

5. Decrease the speed of your fan

The air that your fan blows at a fast speed will dry out your tears. Decreasing the speed and directing it away from you or putting it on a rotating mode may lessen its chances of drying your eyes.

6. Use artificial tears, eye drops, gels, or eye ointments

Using artificial tears and eye drops or gels 3-4 times a day will put moisture and lubricate your eyes to lessen symptoms of dry eyes. 

Eye ointments are used during nighttime because they have a thicker formula which, may cause blurry vision.

7. Scrub your lids

You can use over-the-counter products or simply soak a clean cloth or gauze pad in water with baby shampoo and gently scrub it on the lid margin.

Warm compresses may also help. Soak a clean washcloth in warm water (make sure it’s not too hot!) and apply it to your eyes. Re-soak it as many times until the compress gets cold.

8. Take a high-quality fish oil supplement

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may reduce inflammation in your glands and improve the production of your tears.

9. Use soft contacts

Using soft contact lenses will less likely dry out your eyes than hard ones. If necessary, do not wear contacts too often. 

10. Anti-inflammatory drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs like cyclosporine (as prescribed by your doctor) may increase your production of tears and prevent inflammation in your cornea.

Your doctor may also recommend you use corticosteroid eye drops while taking medicine if you have severe dry eyes. 

Best to also let your doctor know about your medications as they may contribute to your condition. 

11. Surgery

You will only require surgery if other treatments won’t work in treating your dry eyes. 

What is this ceiling fan effect on my eyes?

Seeing pinwheeling ceiling fan effects on the corner of your eyes or in your peripheral vision could indicate optical migraine. 

Ocular Migraines

There are yet no known exact causes why migraines occur in people.

But if you come from a bloodline with a history of ocular migraines then, chances are high that you could also get one.

Other environmental factors and your lifestyle habits may also trigger you to get migraines. For example, people who experience a ceiling fan effect on their eyes often find their condition as ocular migraines. 

Take note of other possible symptoms like:

  • Vision problems in one eye. It usually comes with flashing lights and blind spots that last up to 30 minutes.
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light and sound sensitivity

Typically, an ocular migraine attack will go away in less than an hour. So the best thing you could do is rest your eyes and stay in a quiet and dark room. 

Medications may also help you treat and manage migraine attacks like:

You may also want to take note of the factors that may trigger your migraine attacks and avoid them as much as possible.

Some of these triggers include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noise
  • Unpleasant, powerful odors
  • Alcoholic beverages and caffeine
  • Foods containing nitrates, monosodium glutamates, and tyramine
  • Artificial sweeteners

Retinal Detachment

It is an eye condition affecting your vision and may cause complete loss of sight when left untreated. 

Symptoms of retinal detachment may include the following:

  • Vision problems like sudden flashes of sight at the corner of your eye
  • Sudden appearance of many floaters like tiny flecks or thread in your peripheral vision
  • Darkness or sensation like a “curtain” coming down on the middle or sides of your vision

Retinal detachment needs surgical treatment to repair or “reseal” the detached retina or retinal breaks to its normal position and prevent future complications that may lead to complete vision loss.

On the other hand, retinal tears may also present the same symptoms as retinal detachment.

Have yourself checked by an opthalmologist if you have such symptoms to prevent your condition from developing into a retinal detachment. 

The Takeaway

While you may enjoy the cooling effect of the electric fan during the hot summer days, it may also negatively affect your eyes, causing them to dry.

Using artificial tears, over-the-counter eye drops or gels, hot compress, and eyelid scrubs may treat the dryness of your eyes.

However, if you further neglect your condition, it may lead to dry eye syndrome. It might be best to decrease the speed of your fan, use a sleeping mask, and put a humidifier in your room to increase moisture in the air and prevent worsening your condition.

If you experience a ceiling fan effect on your vision, it could be ocular migraine or problems in your retina. Make sure to check an eye doctor right away if such vision problems occur.  

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Reana Jean Cuevas
Mabuhay! I'm Reana Jean Cuevas. A healthy body means living well with no worries-just happiness and more life adventures. Taking care of my body and well-being is an investment for my career and future. I was a volunteer at the Philippine Red Cross. I joined the training to become a first-aider and be able to provide other health and safety services in my community. I love discussing anything but mainly first-aid, home remedies, and women's health.

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