Dry Eyes & Blurry Vision: Is There a Connection?
There is a strong connection between dry eyes and blurry vision. Blurry vision is a common symptom of dry eyes, and it can be alleviated by treating your dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eyes occur when the eyes do not produce enough good tears to keep them well lubricated. Understanding the causes of dry eyes can help to direct treatment.
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Blurry vision can be caused by many different eye and medical conditions. It can make it difficult to see objects clearly, and it can impact vision in one or both eyes.
Although dry eyes and blurry vision are common and usually harmless, they can be indicators of a deeper eye or general health problem that warrants medical attention.
If your dry eyes and blurry vision are not symptoms of a larger health problem, there are many simple lifestyle changes you can try in order to alleviate the issue.
Treatment options for dry eyes causing blurry vision include adding tears, conserving your tears, increasing tear production, and treating inflammation that is leading to dry eyes and blurry vision.
Dry Eyes & Blurry Vision: The Connection
Dry eyes and blurry vision are two common eye symptoms that are closely related. When eyes become too dry, due to poor tear production, they can cause blurry vision.
Blurred vision is one of the primary symptoms of dry eyes. Blurred vision, however, does not cause dry eyes.
For someone who experiences dry eyes and blurred vision, treatment should start by focusing on the dry eyes. As the cause of dry eyes is identified and treated, blurred vision will go away, and you should be able to see clearly once again.
Symptoms & Causes of Dry Eyes
Dry eye syndrome is a common, chronic eye condition that many older adults experience. It occurs when someone does not have enough good tears to lubricate the eyes sufficiently. Some people may have enough tears, but the quality of their tears is poor.
Tears are essential for nourishing the front of the eye and providing clear vision. They are made up of three layers: water, oil, and mucus. The oil layer prevents evaporation of the water layer, and the mucus layer spreads the tears uniformly over the eye’s surface. If the proportion of each layer is off, the eyes don’t stay lubricated, and this can result in dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
- Irritated eyes.
- Red eyes.
- Gritty or scratchy feeling in the eyes.
- Burning sensation.
- A sense that something is in your eyes.
- Overly watery eyes.
- Light sensitivity.
- Blurred vision.
- Impaired vision.
There are many different reasons that someone may develop dry eyes. Common causes of dry eye include:
- Age. Dry eyes can be part of the natural aging process. They are more common in people over the age of 65.
- Sex. Females are more likely to experience dry eyes because of hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, oral birth control, and menopause.
- Medications. Tear production can be affected by certain medications, like antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medicines.
- Environmental factors. Exposure to conditions (such as smoke, wind, and dry air) can cause dry eyes. Additionally, extended periods of staring, such as at a computer or TV screen, without blinking can lead to dry eye.
- Other causes. Other factors, such as long-term contact lens use or LASIK surgery, are known to decrease tear production.
Symptoms & Causes of Blurry Vision
Blurry vision is a symptom of many different eye conditions. Usually, it is a harmless symptom, but it can indicate an underlying problem. If symptoms of blurred vision come on suddenly, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of blurred vision include:
- Objects not appearing sharp or clear.
- Blurred vision in one or both eyes.
- Everything appearing blurry.
- Only parts of vision appearing blurry.
Blurred vision is known to be caused by:
- Myopia and hyperopia.
- Dry eye.
- Damage to the cornea.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Eye infection.
- Eye injury.
- Diabetic retinopathy.
Deeper Problems Dry Eyes & Blurry Vision Could Indicate
Although dry eyes and blurry vision are usually relatively harmless symptoms, they can be symptoms of a deeper medical problem. Reduced tear production, for example, has been linked to various medical situations, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma.
- Vitamin A deficiency.
- Radiation treatment.
- Refractive eye surgeries.
Blurry vision can also be linked to serious health problems beyond the previously discussed eye conditions. Medical conditions known to cause blurry vision include:
- Head injury.
- Low blood sugar.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Brain tumors.
- Parkinson’s disease.
If your symptoms of dry eyes and blurry vision are persistent and not responsive to standard prevention methods or treatment options, consult your eye doctor. It is possible that they are symptoms of an underlying condition that warrants further medical attention.
Proper self-care regarding your eye health can go a long way in preventing complications caused by dry eye and blurry vision.
In order to prevent symptoms caused by dry eyes, incorporate the following into your daily routine:
- Blink regularly.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule. When working on a computer or other screen, look away from the screen every 20 minutes. Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Increase the air humidity at home and work by using a humidifier.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind and sun.
- Take nutritional supplements with essential fatty acids to increase lubrication in your eyes.
- Reduce screen time. Avoid excessive use of screens.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get enough sleep.
The above lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing and treating symptoms of dry eye and blurry vision without the use of medicines or surgical interventions.
The way to treat dry eyes is by encouraging healthy tear production, explains the American Optometric Association. This can be done in a variety of ways.
- Add tears through over-the-counter tear solutions.
- Conserve your natural tears by blocking the tear ducts where your tears normally drain from the eye via implants or eye surgery.
- Increase tear production with the help of prescribed eye drops.
- Treat inflammation of the eye or eyelid that is causing dry eye.
Consultation with your eye doctor will help to determine the severity of your problem and which treatment approach is most appropriate.
In many cases, simple lifestyle changes may be enough to relieve symptoms of dry eye and blurry vision. If these aren’t effective, your eye doctor can prescribe alternative treatment options to target the cause of these common vision symptoms.
Usually, your eye doctor will start by recommending over-the-counter lubricating eye drops. If those are not successful, they may prescribe eye drops. If further treatment is needed, surgery may be recommended.
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- Dry Eye. American Optometric Association.
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- What Is Dry Eye and How Can I Get Rid of It? (January 2018). Medical News Today.