Dry Eye Dangers


Premier Member
I had cataract surgery a couple of months ago. The plus side being I no longer have to wear glasses. The downside I might experience dry eyes under certain conditions until my eyes completely healed. Unfortunately not knowing what dry eyes felt like became extremely dangerous on the way back from JAX. Two hours out of JAX, 08:00 am, on the way home to Arizona I went to sleep. Yikes! Micro Sleep? Oh Crap! Berating myself, yelling to keep myself awake, etc., I got off at the next exit. I went so far as taking a 5-hour energy drink which I never do, waited a little while and got back on the road. Not long afterwards I closed my eyes for another long second and instantly stopped at a rest stop. Leaned down on the tank bag and took a nap all the while wondering what's wrong. One of the few times I was scared, almost running off the road on a motorcycle at 75 mph is a no win. I resigned myself to taking short breaks frequently at the first sign of any kind of a head nod. All the while knowing I got a good night's sleep and wasn't sick.

It took a long time, half way home, to put two and two together. The doctor talking about dry eyes and comments from my wife who has dry eyes. While I heard the words I didn't understand the meaning. I had been told to take lubricating eye drops with me in case I needed them. Putting a drop in each eye and all of a sudden I was awake! My eyes weren't tired and didn't ache. I also remembered it was okay to use the eye drops every couple of hours. Almost on the two hour schedule I would notice getting a little tired and stopped to use the eye drops. No more closing my eyes and almost running off the road.

What was different going to JAX verses coming home. It was cold, raining, and a little cooler and I was using a chin guard with my new helmet. Coming home I removed the chin guard because the weather was warmer, some fog which sucks moisture out of the air, and after a while was really nice weather. The extra air circulation inside the helmet obviously dried my eyes quickly. I didn't know what dry eyes felt like never having the problem. The body wants to close the eyes not just blink them, it almost got me killed if I hadn't snapped out of it before I hit the ditch or another car.

Now that I know how dry eyes feel preventing it will be easy. Yes there is a difference between the dry eye feeling and actually being tired. I was lucky and my Guardian Angel was looking out for me.

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
I feel you about the dry eye thing, but not sure how it made you tired.

At every fuel stop, I will snack on something, potty break, wash my face and hands, wet-down my hair and try to work-out the clumping, and readjust my clothing and gear. I also carry and use eye drops because of my severe dry eye issue.

Now I digress- back in 2008, I had LASIK surgery and at first it was wonderful. However, I lost near-sighted vision (ironic since I was near-sighted to begin with), and my night vision turned to crap. In the next four years, both retina's detached, requiring emergency surgery. I've developed cataracts in both eyes and had to have surgery on one of them. I developed severe dry eye syndrome and lost much of peripheral vision, enough that I had to stop playing hockey because it was like playing with blinders on.

No one in my family has any of these issues so I thought it was just bad luck, but then I read some stuff on the internet (which means it HAS to be true, right?), that LASIK surgery patients have shown MUCH HIGHER incidences of these same issues I have had. If I had to do it again, I don't think I would. It really sucks to be in a slightly darkened room and you can't make out anyone's face.


Premier Member
I've developed dry eyes at night. The pain and lack of vision in the morning can be severe, and I learned it can set in also when staying awake for long hours in the saddle.

I now use special overnight lubricating drops at night and as needed visine during the day.

A world of difference.


Premier Member
IBR Finisher
Dry eyes feel like you have sand in your eyes, it doesn't make you sleepy. Use lubricating eye drops at every stop but yes, cool weather and wind will make you feel it more.
A few years ago I started wearing safety glasses when I ride. Not only do the glasses help keep the wind from blowing on my eyeballs - they also have 'readers' in the bottom 1/3 of the glasses this helps with reading the small print on my GPS ;)

At night I switch to amber safety glasses.
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