What Causes Gritty Eyes & How to Treat Them 

Mar 1, 2024

Do you know that feeling when your eyes feel scratchy or gritty like there’s sand in them? It’s called gritty eyes, and it’s a more common problem than you might think. Many things can cause gritty eyes, from environmental factors to medical conditions. In this blog, we’ll share some common causes of this issue and tips for finding relief. 

1. Dry eye syndrome 

One of the most common reasons for having gritty eyes is dry eye syndrome. This happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears they produce are of poor quality. As a result, your eyes become dry and irritated and might even feel gritty. If you have dry eye syndrome, there are several treatment options available, including artificial tears, prescription eye drops, tear duct plugs to slow down tear drainage, and warm compresses. 

Making some lifestyle changes can also help reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Limiting the amount of time you spend in front of screens, keeping yourself hydrated, and avoiding smoking or exposure to smoke can go a long way in preventing dry, gritty eyes. In more serious cases where other treatments are ineffective, surgery or therapy may be recommended. 

2. Environmental factors 

Environmental factors, like wind, smoke, and air pollution, can make your eyes feel gritty and uncomfortable. If you’re spending time outdoors, make sure to wear some protective glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from irritants. You can also use a humidifier and drink plenty of water to keep your eyes hydrated. 

3. Allergies 

Allergies can also make your eyes feel gritty. When allergens like pollen and dust get in your eyes, it can set off your immune system, making your eyes dry, red, and irritated. Your eyes might even tear up or itch frequently. Using antihistamine eye drops or taking allergy medicine can help ease the discomfort. If your allergies are severe, your eye doctor might also recommend allergy shots or other immunotherapy treatments. 

4. Eye infections 

Another cause of gritty eyes is a bacterial or viral infection. Eye infections may result in inflammation and discharge, leading to gritty eyes. It’s important to treat eye infections promptly to avoid complications. If you think you might have an eye infection, reach out to your eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

5. Contact lens wear  

Finally, contact lens wear can also cause gritty eyes. Contact lenses can collect dirt and bacteria, which can lead to discomfort and irritation. To prevent this, make sure to wash your hands before handling your lenses, avoid rubbing your eyes, and clean and store your lenses properly. 

When your eyes feel gritty, it may not be a minor annoyance. It could be a sign of a more serious eye condition. If you’re dealing with gritty eyes that just won’t go away, get in touch with our eye doctors in Baton Rouge and Plaquemine, LA at Southern Eye Centers. Our eye care specialists can help determine the underlying cause of your gritty eyes and develop a personalized treatment plan. We specialize in treating dry eye syndrome and a range of other conditions. Contact us today to book an appointment!