Can You Sleep Without Eyelids?

Nope, you're stuck wide awake!
Can You Sleep Without Eyelids?
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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What would happen if you lost the use of your eyelids? You may be surprised to learn there are certain conditions where the use of eyelids can be lost.

If you lose the function of your eyelids, you can still fall asleep with the use of lubrication. These prescribed ointments keep the eyeball moist throughout the time you sleep. There is also potential for surgery and the use of prosthetics.

Let's explore these circumstances in more detail.

What Happens If Your Eyelids Are Cut Off?

The first thing that would happen is you would bleed profusely from the wounds. The blood supply to anywhere on the head is more than on other areas of the body.

I doubt if you would bleed to death, but the blood would also be pouring into your eyes, making your vision severely impaired. Wiping the blood aways would be a painful experience, and one could only guess any bath would be needed to fully clean and remove any remnants of blood in the eyes.

Cutting off your eyelids would hurt beyond belief and is not advisable for anyone to try.

However, there are certain conditions where you can lose your eyelids which makes this obscure question more relevant.

Can You Survive Without Eyelids?

Yes, you can survive without eyelids. It’s not to say you will need some assistance and lifelong medications, but you can survive.

If your eyelids have been sliced off for some unthinkable reason, there is surgery available. The surgery would be available if there is enough skin left intact.

Surgeons can add gold to the skin of the eyelid to give extra weight and pull the eyelid into position for sleeping.

It would be a long shot if it would work or not, but one can only imagine you would try anything to replace your eyelids.

The main problem other than infections is keeping the eyeball moist. This would mean continual eye drops and ointments, not to mention wearing protective glasses for the rest of your life.

Can You Sleep With Your Eyelids Open?

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the official name for people who sleep with their eyes open or partially closed.

If you have young children, you will have witnessed this condition at some point and know it can be eerie.

Nevertheless, this is very common, and children do grow out of this phase.

The problem is that your eyes start to dry out when you sleep with your eyes open, which can be very uncomfortable. The effects of dry eyes can last through the day with a gritty feeling around the eyeball.

There are many over-the-counter medications you can use to counter the effects of the eye drying out.

There are many medical conditions where adults lose their eyelids, such as bell palsy, stroke, surgery-related, and trauma to the head and face.

Although in most cases, the patient eventually recovers sufficiently enough to close their eyes to sleep and can take many months, if not years, to get the full functionality of the eyelid back.

Do You Need Eyelids?

Of course, we need eyelids. They play a vital role in eye health.

Our eyelids are present to protect our eyes from foreign objects such as dust and any other airborne debris. Our eyes are compassionate, and without eyelids, a new dimension of difficulty is added to our lives.

Blinking is a natural reflex that takes place in a millisecond. We don’t even know we are blinking most of the time. But every time we blink, we lubricate the eye and dislodge any debris.

Do you know your tears are full of antibodies? Every time you blink, the tears are wiped across the eye and help to prevent infections from setting in.

Without eyelids, we would have eye infections at regular intervals as we could not spread the antibodies.

We don’t have eyelashes without eyelids, and our eyelashes are another front-line defense against debris entering into the eye. Without them, we would experience pain as there would be a defense from airborne particles.

How Is It Possible To Sleep Without Eyelids?

We have already established it is possible to sleep without closing your eyes, and many people with medical conditions do so daily.

We could eliminate all light from entering the eyeball with total blackout glasses, which could be considered the biggest obstacle to sleeping without eyelids.

The use of ointments would need to be applied through the day, and maybe a thicker ointment at night to prevent waking and reapplying the lubricant.

It would be reasonable to expect the eye drops and ointments to have some kind of antibodies to help prevent infections to the eye.


If you have been in a situation where your eyelids have been removed for either nefarious reasons or a surgical intervention, a good eye specialist would be able to make a shield for the eyeball to offer protection.

One can only guess it could be similar to a contact lens but with some method to secure externally.

It would undoubtedly be more comfortable for sleeping and allow the user to move, toss, and turn if that was their usual sleeping habit.


It would be a horrible experience and outright evil for anyone to remove another person’s eyelids deliberately, but it would be life-altering if it did happen.

With medical intervention, you could live everyday life and possibly have some kind of skin crat to rectify the problem, but disfigurement would be permanent.

Many people with medical conditions have no alternative but to sleep with their eyes open for months, if not years.

As medicine moves forward and surgical techniques push the boundaries, there is nothing impossible, and for sure, you can be provided with a solution to live everyday life.