One of the most common symptoms of dry eye sufferers is gritty or sandy sensation in the eye.
"Gritty eyes" is a term used to describe conditions where your eyes feel like they're scratched or irritated, despite there being nothing physically present to cause this discomfort. But, what exactly is gritty eye, and what leads to this unsettling feeling?
Gritty eye, or foreign body sensation, is an irritating condition often associated with your eyes feeling as though they're irritated or scratched. It's akin to the sensation of having something stuck in your eyes, even when there's nothing there. This condition can cause mild to severe eye discomfort and may also lead to other symptoms, including irritation, pain, and watery eyes.
Gritty eyes can result from several different conditions, including:
Dry eyes is a condition which occurs if a person does not produce enough tears, or if they are producing poor quality tears.
Its symptoms include a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, blurry vision, redness or irritation of the eyes, watery eyes, and pain while wearing contact lenses. Learn more about dry eye syndrome.
Blepharitis is a condition which is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid.
Blepharitis symptoms include itchy eyes, a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, light sensitivity, red or swollen eyes or eyelids, blurry vision, and swelling of the cornea. Learn more about blepharitis.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. It can lead to damage to the glands responsible for keeping the eyes and mouth moist, causing dry eye and the feeling of gritty eye.
Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry eyes, a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, light sensitivity, blurry vision, discomfort while wearing contact lenses, and blepharitis.
Learn more about Sjogren’s syndrome.
A stye is a small red bump which develops at the base of an eyelash or underneath the eyelid. Styes are typically caused by bacterial infections, and they can lead to the following symptoms:
A painful, sometimes pus-filled lump, watery eyes, or swollen eyelids. Learn more about styes.
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, happens when the conjunctiva (clear tissue which covers the white of the eye) of the eye gets irritated. Conjunctivitis can be bacterial, viral, or allergic.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include itchiness, burning, or pain in the eyes, as well as redness, watery eyes, light sensitivity, blurry eyelids, puffy eyelids, or mucus, pus, or yellow discharge coming from the eyes. Learn more about conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Photokeratitis is a condition which can develop after the eyes are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as when looking directly at the sun or a solar eclipse, glare reflecting off snow or water, and devices like welding torches.
This condition can cause eye redness, pain, and swelling, watery eyes, light sensitivity, temporary vision loss, and twitching eyelids.
Meibomian gland dysfunction is when the meibomian glands (which produce tears that help keep the surface of the eyes moist) become clogged or are otherwise not producing enough oil to keep the tears from evaporating too quickly.
Symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction include dry eyes, redness, burning or itchiness in the eyes, blurry vision, watery eyes, light sensitivity, or sticky or crusty eyes. Learn more about meibomian gland dysfunction.
Because the feeling of gritty eyes is caused by a variety of different eye issues, the treatment will vary depending on which cause is present. Providing the correct treatment is vital, as treating for the wrong cause can lead to more issues.
For this reason, if you are experiencing gritty eye, it is important to see our eye doctor who can diagnose the cause of your gritty eye and advise you. Treatments may include
Gritty eyes is an uncomfortable feeling in the eye which can be caused by several different conditions, and treatment will vary based on the cause. If you are experiencing gritty eye, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit for a dry eye evaluation. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.