Most of the times these symptoms are associated with dry eye. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.
Dry eye syndrome has many causes. One of the most common reasons for dryness is simply the normal aging process. As we grow older, our bodies produce less oil - 60% less at age 65 then at age 18. This is more pronounced in women, who tend to have drier skin then men. The oil deficiency also affects the tear film. Without as much oil to seal the watery layer, the tear film evaporates much faster, leaving dry areas on the cornea.
Many other factors, such as hot, dry or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke also cause dry eyes. Many people also find their eyes become irritated when reading or working on a computer. Stopping periodically to rest and blink keeps the eyes more comfortable.
You can prevent the pain by washing the eyes with artificial lacrima.
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I think that your eyes probably have another condition called blepharitis. This is a common cause of morning irritation because it is thought that the debris on the lashes is rubbed into the surface of the eye during sleep (pillow may play a role). As a result, eyes are irritated upon awakening. Dry eyes feel great in the morning and bad at the end of the day.
Blepharitis is an infection of the lids and lashes. Common findings in someone with blepharitis can range from subtle collections of yellow colored debris or flakes on the lashes to not so subtle crusting, clumping on lashes, red eyelid borders with thickening of the lids and oil gland orifices. The treatment consists of 3 things and must be done consistently for effective control and cure.
First, you take a a warm wash cloth or warm compress and lay it across your lids for 5 minutes (heat must be applied for 5 mins). This helps the oil glands get moving again and helps losen up the debris on th elashes.
Next you take some baby shampoo and mix it with water (50/50) and use a wash cloth to rub across and cleanse the skin and lashes. This helps remove the debris.
Last, you apply antibiotic ointment, like erythromycin to the base of the lashes. This helps get rid of or control the infection in about 2 weeks.
You may try this regimen without the antibiotic ointment first, but may need to talk to your doctor for a prescription for the erythromycin ophthalmic ointment if your symptoms do not resolve fully.