Do Your Eyes Feel Gritty? Understand the Causes & Treatment

Feb 1, 2024

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time staring at screens or wears contact lenses regularly, you may have experienced dry, gritty eyes at some point. Gritty eyes can make your eyes feel scratchy or irritated—almost like there’s sand stuck in your eyes. It’s very uncomfortable and can even affect your vision sometimes. So, what causes this issue? And how can it be treated? 

In this blog post, we’ll explore common causes of gritty eyes and what you can do to relieve discomfort.  

Common causes of gritty eyes 

1. Dry eye syndrome 

One of the most common causes of gritty eyes is dry eye syndrome. This happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears to keep them lubricated, or your tears evaporate too quickly. Without enough moisture, your eyes can become red, itchy, and uncomfortable. Several factors can cause dry eye syndrome, like getting older, taking certain medications, environmental factors, and even some medical conditions. 

2. Contact lens wear 

Wearing contact lenses can sometimes lead to gritty eyes, especially if you don’t clean and take care of them properly. Dirt, debris, and bacteria can build up on the lenses and cause irritation and discomfort. If you wear contact lenses and your eyes feel gritty, ask your eye doctor about switching to a different kind of lens or cleaning your lenses more thoroughly. 

3. Computer vision syndrome 

Another cause of gritty eyes is computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain. This happens when you spend a long time staring at screens, leading to eye strain, headaches, and dry, gritty eyes. When you’re looking at a screen, you tend to blink less, which can make your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. 

How to treat gritty eyes 

If you’re dealing with gritty eyes, don’t worry! There are many treatment options available, depending on the cause. For dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor might suggest using artificial tears or prescription eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated. They may also recommend making some lifestyle changes, such as staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and limiting screen time. For more severe cases, you may need an in-office treatment like heat therapy to gently warm clogged tear glands in your eyelids and restore normal tear production.  

If your eyes feel gritty because of contact lenses, your eye doctor might suggest trying a different type of lens or changing your cleaning routine. If the issue is digital eye strain, making sure you have adequate lighting, remembering to blink regularly, and taking frequent breaks from screens may help.  

If you’re dealing with dry, gritty eyes, there’s no need to live in discomfort. Our skilled eye doctors in Newport and Waterville, Maine are experts in diagnosing and treating dry eyes and other causes of gritty eyes. They have a variety of treatments available to provide you with relief, such as TearCare® heat therapy, amniotic membranes (Prokera®), EZ Tears™ omega-3 supplements, and Blephadex® wipes. Make an appointment with our eye doctor today and start feeling better! 

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