If your eyes feel gritty and irritated, dry eye syndrome is a likely culprit. While over-the-counter eye drops may provide temporary relief, determining the underlying cause of your symptoms is the only way to attain long-lasting relief.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the quantity or quality of the tears is diminished.
The tears are responsible for maintaining eye hydration. When you blink, a thin layer of tears spreads across the surface of your eyes to keep them moist and nourished.
However, when the composition of the tear film isn’t properly balanced, dry eye symptoms can result.
Common dry eye symptoms include:
- Gritty eyes
- Sore eyes
- Burning eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Blurred vision
- A feeling that something is stuck in the eye
What Causes Dry Eye?
The majority of cases of dry eye syndrome are caused by a problem with the meibomian glands. DES can also be genetic, occur due to aging or be caused by certain lifestyle habits, such as insufficient blinking, or living in a polluted, dry or windy climate.
It can also be a side effect of LASIK surgery and certain medical conditions or medications, including antihistamines and antidepressants.
How Is Dry Eye Treated?
Occasionally, mild dry eye symptoms can be relieved with over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops. However, finding a long-term solution for any form of dry eyes usually requires your eye doctor to determine the root cause. Depending on the underlying problem, your eye doctor may prescribe prescription eye drops or provide a comprehensive treatment solution with in-office treatments to effectively alleviate your symptoms.
Your eye doctor may also recommend making some lifestyle changes, such as staying hydrated, using a humidifier in your home and office, blinking more frequently and wearing wrap-around sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh winds and irritants in your environment.
If your eyes feel gritty, contact Corktown Eyecare in Toronto to schedule an eye exam. Your eye doctor will determine the cause of your symptoms and provide you with an effective treatment plan.
What other conditions can cause gritty eyes?
Blepharitis is another common cause of gritty eyes that occurs when the eyelids become inflamed — most frequently from a blockage in the meibomian glands, a bacterial infection or skin condition. There are a range of medications and procedures to effectively treat blepharitis.