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Can Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

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A woman sitting at her desk, rubbing her eyes due to blurry vision

If you’re one of 16 million Americans experiencing dry eyes, you know how uncomfortable and irritating the symptoms can be. Dry eye and blurry vision often go hand in hand. Treating dry eye disease can help alleviate blurry vision, but sometimes it can point to something more serious.

Using modern technology, The Eye Care Team’s optometrists can identify the early stages of eye conditions that may be causing your dry eye disease and begin treating the root problems, not just the symptoms.

How Do Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision? 

Dry eyes typically indicate a problem with the tear film. Tears provide lubrication across the eye, wash away particles, dust, or debris, and reduce the risk of eye infections. When your tear production or drainage is dysfunctional, you may experience dry eye symptoms such as:

  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Overly watering eyes
  • Mucus near the eyes
  • Stinging of the eyes
  • Gritty sensation
  • Burning sensation
  • Blurry vision

Dry eye and subsequent blurry vision can result from inadequate tears (aqueous deficiency) or poor tear quality (evaporative dry eye).

Aqueous deficiency is characterized by reduced water production from the lacrimal glands. This watery layer of the tear film hydrates the eyes when you blink and washes away foreign debris and particles that irritate your eyes.

Evaporative dry eye is the most common form of dry eye disease. Over 85% of dry eye disease cases are attributed to the meibomian gland dysfunction that increases tear evaporation. When your meibomian gland isn’t producing the oily layer of your tear mixture, your tears evaporate more quickly, leading to dry eyes and blurry vision.

Other Causes of Blurry Vision

Blurry vision related to dry eye can be attributable to the following:

If you have persistent blurry vision, visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam to uncover the underlying cause.

A blurry image of someone reaching for their glasses

Can Dry Eyes Cause Chronic Vision Problems? 

You can find relief from your dry eye symptoms and reduce blurry vision. Mild dry eyes are easy to ignore, but if it’s not going away or progressively worsening, you should seek dry eye treatment.

Tears are more important than they get credit for—they clear away irritants and hydrate the eye’s surface. Suffering from chronic and sustained dry eyes may damage them without intervention and lead to complications in your overall eye health.

Corneal Ulcer

Severe dry eyes can play a role in developing a sore on your cornea, the protective outer layer of the eye. When debris, dirt, or other particles enter the eye and aren’t washed away with balanced tears, they can scratch the cornea’s surface, causing injury. 

If bacteria enter the scratch, it can cause an infection, and if left untreated, it can create scars on the eye and damage vision.

Contact Lens Wear 

Contact lens wear can lead to dry eye symptoms if they’re not properly fitted or you’re not wearing the best lens type for your eyes. Hydration and lubrication from tears are needed for contact lenses to feel comfortable.

If you’re experiencing chronic dry eye, wearing your contacts may lead to grittiness and irritation. Blurry vision symptoms may prevent your contact lenses from correcting vision distortion or refractive errors. Instead, you may be limited to wearing glasses until you find relief from dry eye symptoms.

Eye Infections

Left untreated, dry eye can increase your risk of developing an eye infection. Uncomfortable symptoms of eye infections include pain, swelling, tenderness, and discharge, among others.

Some common eye infections include:

You will require unique treatments depending on whether your infection is bacterial, viral, or fungal. If you’re experiencing symptoms of an eye infection, visit your optometrist as soon as possible to begin treatment.

How to Treat Dry Eye Disease

Discuss any symptoms, no matter how mild, with your optometrist during your eye exam. Our optometrists can suggest the following:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as using a humidifier or limiting screen time
  • Over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears
  • Supplements

The Eye Care Team’s modern treatment option, OptiLight by Lumenis, can improve meibomian gland function by carefully calibrating light pulses to break up blockages and rebalance your tear mixture.

We also offer LipiFlow, which treats meibomian gland dysfunction due to dry eye. The LipiFlow system gently heats and applies pressure to the eyes to remove any blockage in the meibomian glands. 

Treat Dry Eye Symptoms in Spokane & Chewelah

Don’t let your dry eye symptoms get out of control. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to assess your eyes and discuss treatment options. Let us help relieve your dry eye-related blurry vision so you can see clearly, without irritation. 

Written by Dr. Daniel Evans

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