Gritty Eyes and Dry Eye Syndrome: What’s the Connection?

Feb 1, 2024 | Dry Eye Syndrome

Does it ever feel like you have sand in your eyes even though there’s nothing there? This sensation is known as “gritty eyes,” and it’s a common sign of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or your tears don’t have the right composition to keep your eyes moist and healthy. Keep reading to learn more about this condition and what you can do to find relief.  

Understanding dry eye syndrome 

When your eyes are healthy, they naturally make tears to keep them lubricated and protected. These tears consist of three important components: mucus, water, and oil. Mucus helps the tears stick to the eye’s surface, while water provides most of the lubrication. And oil prevents the tears from evaporating too quickly. The right balance of these components helps keep your eyes healthy and feeling comfortable.  

But sometimes, your eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears they do make are of poor quality. That’s when you can experience dry eye syndrome. It’s more common as you get older, especially if you’re a woman or dealing with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or lupus. Environmental factors such as dry air, wind, or smoke can also cause dry eye syndrome. 

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome 

When you have dry eye syndrome, your eyes don’t produce enough moisture to stay lubricated. This can make your eyes feel gritty or sandy, and you may experience other symptoms like burning, itching, redness, and blurred vision. It can even cause watery eyes as your eyes try to compensate by producing too many tears! If you don’t treat dry eye syndrome, it can damage the surface of your eyes and even lead to vision loss. 

Treatment options for dry eye syndrome 

Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways to relieve dry eye symptoms and improve your quality of life. Lubricating eye drops and warm compresses can help reduce dryness and discomfort. Another way to relieve dry eye is to protect your eyes from dry air and wind by wearing glasses or protective eyewear. You can also use humidifiers or air filtering devices to keep the air in your office or home moist and clean. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps to increase the moisture content of your eyes, preventing dryness and irritation. Plus, remember to blink often when working on computers or reading and take frequent breaks from screens.  

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, don’t lose hope. Our expert eye doctors in Marion, Ohio, are here to help you determine the underlying cause and find lasting relief. We offer a range of dry eye treatment options in Marion, including prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation, Bruder Mask™ heated eye compresses for moist heat therapy, punctal plugs (tiny plugs inserted painlessly into your tear ducts to slow down tear drainage), and nutritional supplements. So, if you’re experiencing gritty eyes or any other symptoms of dry eye, make an appointment with our eye doctors at Buckeye Optometry in Marion today.