Why does sleep deprivation cause red eyes?

17 October 2004

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Question

I'm getting less and less sleep due to back pain and recently I developed red and dry eyes - what can you recommend?

Answer

This could be that you have a small viral infection of the eyes and a bad back, or there is a disorder called Ankylosing spondylitis, which is caused by the immune system attacking the body itself. This is a progressive back condition which can have dry eyes associated with it, although not usually a sudden onset as in your case. There is a blood test that can help to confirm this, so it is best to go and see your GP and discuss this possibility.

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