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Can Dry Eyes Cause Blurriness?

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An image depicting blurry vision and what it would look like from a first person perspective. The person is reaching their hand out towards their laptop, but it's blurry.

Do you notice your vision getting blurry for no apparent reason? If so, then you may be experiencing dry eyes. Dry eyes are a surprisingly common medical condition caused by inadequate tear production or poor-quality tears.

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Inflammation

If you experience these symptoms, you should contact your optometrist for diagnosis and devise a treatment plan.

What Causes Blurry Vision?

Our eyes are incredible tools that allow us to see the world in various ways. However, there are times when our vision can become blurry, causing frustration and inconvenience. Blurriness can be caused by a many different eye conditions, including:

Please know that blurry vision can be a symptom of a more severe condition. So, if you experience consistent blurriness or other vision problems, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. 

How Do Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

Dry eyes occur when your eyes can’t produce enough tears to keep them moistened, leading to irritation, redness, and other symptoms. But they can also cause blurry vision and impact your ability to go about your day. 

When there’s not enough moisture in your eyes, the eye’s surface can become uneven, leading to light not focusing properly on your retina, making objects appear blurry or fuzzy. Your tears also protect your eyes, so the longer your dry eye condition goes untreated, the more prone to damage the surface of your eye (the corneas) is. Damaged corneas can scatter light, contributing to blurry vision. 

Although dry eyes are common and many find they can manage their condition with over-the-counter eye drops, this condition can become severe and lead to frequent eye infections, putting your eyes and vision at risk. If you don’t find relief with eye drops or lifestyle changes, please see your eye doctor as soon as possible. They can help you achieve comfortable, hydrated eyes. 

A woman pulling down her eye lid to expose her visibly dry and red eye.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

Typical symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Redness
  • Scratchy eyes
  • Burning 
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling like there’s sand or grit in the eyes

Risk Factors for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome 

Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing dry eye syndromes, including:

  • Aging
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medications
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Diabetes 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to prevent and manage dry eyes. You can use eye drops, take regular breaks from screen time, and maintain good eye hygiene to help protect your eyes. By staying proactive about your eye health, you can reduce your risk of developing this uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating condition.

How to Diagnose & Treat Dry Eyes 

Finding effective treatment can be crucial for relieving constant discomfort from dry eyes. Your eye doctor can diagnose dry eyes during a comprehensive eye exam, which includes evaluating your medical history and symptoms and testing your tear production. 

Once diagnosed, treatment options can range from artificial tears, eyelid cleanings, and prescription eye drops to medical procedures like punctal plugs. In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle adjustments like remembering to blink and avoiding environmental triggers like air conditioning or wind can also help alleviate symptoms. 

Tips for Preventing & Relieving Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye symptoms can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent and relieve dry eye symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated and incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
  • Use a humidifier in your home or workplace to increase the moisture in the air.
  • Take breaks from your work every 20 minutes to give your eyes a rest. 
  • Use a warm compress to unblock your tear ducts.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from wind and sun. 
  • If you find that your eyes are still bothering you, over-the-counter eye drops can provide some relief. 

Dry eye symptoms don’t have to control your life. By implementing these tips, you can make a big difference in your eye comfort.

Finding the Right Treatment

There is no known cure for dry eyes, but treatments can manage your condition and provide relief. Consult with your eye doctor if you experience any symptoms related to dry eyes, like blurred vision. Our team at Red Deer Eye Care can provide a professional evaluation, an accurate diagnosis, and a personalized treatment plan for you. Dry eyes are widespread and can affect anyone. But with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can find relief and restore comfort to your daily life.

Written by Dr. Daryl Berger

Dr. Berger was born and raised in Red Deer. After studying at Red Deer College and the U of A, he graduated with honours from the optometry program at Waterloo in 2007. Daryl enjoys music, cars, biking, hiking, snowboarding and travel. He and his wife, Pamela, have twin boys and a dog named Gus.
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