Skip to main content

Dry Eye Senior Woman 1280×480

Home » Eye Care Services » Dry Eye » Gritty Eyes and Dry Eye Syndrome

Gritty Eyes

That irritating sensation of having sand in your eye can be unbearable. Many of our patients describe it as having a tiny fleck of sand in the eye that doesn’t go away, resulting in a scratchy, rough sensation. If you experience that gritty, irritated sensation for extended periods of time, you may have an underlying eye condition, either dry eye syndrome, Blepharitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or a number of other possible eye conditions. We will examine your eyes and determine the cause of the grittiness in order to provide you with the most appropriate treatment.

What Causes Gritty Eyes?

As mentioned above, gritty eyes can be caused by a number of eye conditions and diseases, such as Dry Eye Syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, Blepharitis, or sunburned eyes.

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES)

Dry eye is the most common cause of gritty eyes. A decreased production or quality of tears can cause the eyes to become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. At times the eyes can even become very watery.

Our tears are composed of 3 components: water, oil, and mucus. You need all three in a perfect balance for healthy tear production. Dry eyes can result when one or more of these components are deficient or out of balance.

Why does DES cause watery eyes? A common form of Dry Eye Syndrome is insufficient oil in your tears, which causes the tears to run down your cheek. The glands that produce oil are called the meibomian glands. These are located inside your eyelids, and their tiny pores supply the essential oils. These glands can become blocked due to inflammation, allergies or pollution.

Other dry eye causes include refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK), aging, hormonal changes, or certain medications.

eyes behind the leafSjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the glands responsible for keeping the eyes, mouth and other parts of the body moist and lubricated. Therefore, it is no surprise that dry eyes are a distinctive feature of Sjogren’s syndrome. Other symptoms may include red eyes, contact lens discomfort, blurred vision, a gritty or burning sensation, light sensitivity, dry mouth, fatigue, and joint pain.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an eye condition caused by a skin disorder or a bacterial infection of the eyelids. A patient with Blepharitis typically experiences swollen eyelids, and red, irritated and itchy eyes. Grittiness is a very common symptom found in those with Blepharitis. This condition is now easily treated, thanks to a range of medication and treatment options.

Sunburned Eyes

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned? When the eyes are over-exposed to UV radiation, the cornea at the front of the eye can develop a sunburn. The first sign of a sunburned eye is when the sclera, the white part of the eye, appears bloodshot. You may notice a sudden sensitivity to light, soreness, blurred vision and feel that gritty sensation in your eyes.

How to Treat Gritty Eyes

The key to treating gritty eyes begins with understanding its cause.

If it’s caused by dry eyes, Dr. Dennis Smith may recommend using artificial tears, which lubricate the eyes to relieve the gritty, itchy feeling. Prescription eye drops may be another option, as they increase the eye’s natural tear production. In certain cases, the doctor may prescribe steroids for short-term symptom relief.

If your gritty eye sensation is caused by a mild form Blepharitis, a simple way to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling is to keep your eyelids perpetually clean. Routinely use a warm compress to soften the buildup of crustiness on the eyelids and then gently wash away any eye crust formations. For most cases of Blepharitis, a more effective treatment is now available known as BlephEx. We may also suggest several BlephEx procedures, which effectively clean the eyelids of any bacterial buildup.

For those with sunburned eyes, eye drops provide relief by moisturizing the eye and soothing the burn with the lubricating formula. In more severe cases, anti-inflammatory drops may be prescribed. The gritty feeling from the sunburn often fades on its own within a few days. If you find that the grittiness and discomfort last for more than 2 days, contact River Place Vision Center immediately.

If you are experiencing gritty eyes and can’t seem to find relief from the discomfort, get in touch and River Place Vision Center will set up a consultation with Dr. Dennis Smith to discuss the specifics of your case. Our mission is to ensure that you enjoy long-term clear and pain-free vision.

Our practice serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-343-2020
Learn More About Dry Eye
What Are Dry Eyelids Thumbnail.jpg

What Are Dry Eyelids?

Digital Eye Strain and Dry Eye Syndrome Thumbnail.jpg

Digital Eye Strain and Dry Eye Syndrome

Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome Thumbnail.jpg

Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

Vitamins and Foods Thumbnail.jpg

Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Ocular Rosacea and Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

Ocular Rosacea and Dry Eye

Electronic Devices And Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

Excess Screen Time Can Lead To Dry Eye

girl closing eyes Thumbnail 1.jpg

Hot Compresses for Dry Eye

Eye Drops for Dry Eyes Thumbnail.jpg

Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Why You Should See Your Eye Doctor

What Is Lagophthalmos Thumbnail.jpg

Lagophthalmos and Dry Eye

dry eye relif Thumbnail.jpg

Dry Eye? These Treatments and Medications Can Provide Relief

clock 5207235 1920 thumbnail.jpg

Waking Up With Dry Eyes 

Why Dry Eye Affects More Women Than Men Thumbnail.jpg

Why Dry Eye Affects More Women Than Men

contacts dry eye Thumbnail.jpg

Contact Lenses and Dry Eye

what causes dry eye.jpg

What Can Cause Dry Eye?

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Thumbnail 5.jpg

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction | A Leading Cause of Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eyes As We Age Thumbnail.jpg

Aging and Dry Eyes

Dry Eye After LASIK Thumbnail.jpg

Dry Eye After LASIK

Read Our Latest Posts
Eye Gland Atrophy 640.jpg

High Blood Sugar Linked to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

woman holding a pair of eyeglasses.jpg

Can Dry Eyes Blur Your Vision?

5 Common Dry Eye Symptoms 640×350 1.jpg

What Are the 5 Most Common Dry Eye Symptoms?

Why Is There Sticky Mucus In My Eye 640×350 1.jpg

Why Is There Sticky Mucus In My Eye?