Ceiling Fans, Dehydration in Eyes, Headaches or Migraines?

by Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert Health Professional & Patient Advocate


Can ceiling fans cause dehydration in your eyes leading to headaches or migrains?

my girlfriend likes to sleep cold with the airconditioner set low and the ceiling fan turned on high. This causes me to wake up with what i can only describe as dehydration headaches similar to a sinus infection headache. When the fan is on medium or low I sometimes feel a little dehydrated but without the headache. Allen.


Dear Allen;

You said "dehydration in your eyes" in one place, but just "dehydration" in another, so this is a bit difficult to address.

Air conditioning usually removes some moisture from the air. This can dehydrate skin and exposed membranes to some extent. Some people report that the inside of their nostrils gets dry and sometimes even bleeds a bit from the dryness. So, surface dehydration is possible. "Regular" dehydration from air conditioning and/or fans is unlikely unless you're already bordering on dehydration.

Some people are very sensitive to temperatures or even a significant amount of air blowing across their heads.

Also, some people tend to sleep with their eyes open a tiny slit, which can aggravate a tendency toward dry eyes. There's a big difference between headaches and Migraines. A conversation with your doctor to determine which you're having is in order. If this is Migraine, it's also possible that you're not sleeping as well with the AC and fan set high, and sleep quality can be a big Migraine trigger.

Hopefully, this is as simple as a dry issue that can be resolved with using eye drops before bed or using a sleep mask, but please do check in with your doctor..

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines.

Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.

We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor.

Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert
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Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert

Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert.