Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described Kenny Chesney's rendition of the song as "a great soft rock crossover, tuneful and easy but never forced and not dripping with sentiment.". Deborah Evans Price of Billboard Magazine reviewed the song favorably, calling it "another pretty ballad." Price also described the production as having "a simple, understated quality that places the focus on the lovelorn lyric and Chesney's evocative vocals." 
"When I Close My Eyes" was the third and final single from Chesney's 1996 album Me and You. It debuted at number 74 on the Hot Country Songs chart dated December 21, 1996. Having charted for 21 weeks on that chart, it peaked at number 2 on the country chart dated April 19, 1997.