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Gritty Eyes (Causes and Home Remedies)

Gritty eyes make your eyes scratchy and irritated. Your eyes may feel like they are filled with sand when you blink. It’s the most common eye problem experienced by people all over the world, especially in Canada. The severe winters and humidity aggravate this condition.

Various conditions can contribute to the irritating feeling of gritty eyes. Dry eye syndrome is the most common cause of gritty eyes. Characterized by a lack of tears, dry eyes are often itchy, irritated, painful, and dry. Blepharitis, a condition with swollen eyelids, can also lead to this gritty feeling.

Other factors contributing to this discomfort include Sjogren’s syndrome, unclean contact lenses, conjunctivitis, stye, aging, sunburned eyes, poor makeup hygiene, meibomian gland dysfunction, ocular rosacea, thyroid disease, pinguecula and pterygium, corneal abrasion, laser eye surgery, vitamin A deficiency, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, winter weather, hay fever, and fungal keratitis.  

The treatment options for gritty eyes vary depending on the underlying cause of your irritation. Your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye drops, artificial tears, punctal plugs, and home remedies for gritty eyes. 

19 Causes of Gritty Eyes

19 gritty eyes causes

1. Dry Eye Syndrome

Let's start with the most common culprit – dry eye syndrome. Imagine your eyes as delicate plants in need of nourishment. Tears are like the life-giving rain for your eyes. When your eyes don't produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, it can lead to dryness and that gritty feeling. Dry eyes often come with symptoms like itchiness, irritation, pain, and, unsurprisingly, dryness.

2. Blepharitis

Picture this: swollen eyelids causing tiny, invisible irritants to sneak into your eyes. That's what happens with blepharitis. This eye condition can make your eyelids inflamed and, in turn, trigger that gritty sensation.

3. Sjogren’s Syndrome

This is an autoimmune condition where your body's immune system mistakenly attacks the glands that produce tears and saliva. As a result, your eyes can become persistently dry, leading to that gritty and uncomfortable feeling. Dryness in the mouth is also a common symptom.

4. Unclean Contact Lenses

Picture this scenario: You've had a long day, and all you want to do is crawl into bed. But if you forget to clean your contact lenses properly, you're allowing a host of irritants to camp out on those little discs that rest on your eyes. These irritants can easily transfer to your eyes, causing that unmistakable gritty sensation.

5. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

This one is notorious for making your eyes not only pink but also incredibly gritty. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies, and it often comes with eye discharge, itching, and sensitivity to light.

6. Styes

Imagine a small, tender lump forming on your eyelid. That's a stye, and it can definitely make your eye feel like it has an unwelcome visitor. Styes occur when an oil gland in the eyelid becomes infected.

7. Aging

As we gracefully age, our body's functions can change. Unfortunately, one of these changes involves producing fewer tears. This age-related decrease in tear production can lead to dryness and that gritty sensation.

8. Sunburned Eyes

Have you ever been out in the sun without sunglasses and felt like your eyes were irritated? Sunburned eyes are a real thing. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause discomfort and redness in your eyes.

9. Poor Makeup Hygiene

Ladies and gentlemen, makeup can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to eye health. Using expired or low-quality makeup products around your eyes can introduce allergens and irritants, leading to, you guessed it, gritty eyes.

10. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

These little glands in your eyelids are responsible for producing the oil layer of your tears. When they get blocked or aren't working correctly, it can lead to insufficient oil production and, subsequently, dry and gritty eyes.

11. Ocular Rosacea

Rosacea isn't limited to your skin – it can affect your eyes too. When the eyes are involved, they can become bloodshot, dry, and gritty. It's like a two-for-one deal of discomfort.

12. Thyroid Disease

Conditions like Graves' disease can impact your eye health, causing inflammation and dryness. Your thyroid's overactivity can often be mirrored in your eyes.

13. Pinguecula and Pterygium

These are growths on the white part of your eye (sclera) and can be caused by exposure to UV rays, wind, or dust. They can make your eyes feel like there's a foreign object irritating them.

14. Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion is essentially a scratch on the clear front surface of your eye. This injury can certainly lead to the sensation of something gritty in your eye.

15. Laser Eye Surgery

If you've undergone laser eye surgery like LASIK, you might experience temporary dryness and discomfort as your eyes heal and adjust to their new state.

16. Vitamin A Deficiency

Your eyes rely on vitamin A to function properly. A deficiency can lead to dryness and grittiness, among other eye problems.

17. Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis

This is an allergic eye condition that's particularly common in young people. It can make your eyes itchy, red, and, of course, gritty.

18. Winter Weather and Hay Fever

If you live in a country where winter is severe, like Canada, you are more likely to experience eye irritation. Canada's winters are notoriously dry and often coincide with hay fever season, creating a double whammy for your eyes. The indoor air becomes parched, leaving your eyes feeling dry and gritty. To add to the discomfort, hay fever brings allergens like pollen and dust, which can further irritate your eyes. 

19. Fungal Keratitis

Although rare, this serious fungal infection of the cornea can cause severe discomfort, including a gritty sensation in the affected eye.

How to Get Rid of Gritty Eyes

The path to relief from gritty eyes begins with identifying the underlying cause. Your eye doctor will be your trusty guide on this journey, helping you pinpoint the issue and choose the best treatment. Here are some common approaches:

Prescription Eye Drops: If dry eye syndrome is the culprit, prescription eye drops tailored to your condition can work wonders in replenishing your tears.

Artificial Tears: For mild dryness and temporary discomfort, over-the-counter artificial tears can provide quick relief.

Punctal Plugs: These tiny devices can help conserve your natural tears by blocking the drainage ducts, ensuring your eyes stay moist.

Home Remedies: Simple steps like using a humidifier, taking breaks from screens, and maintaining good eyelid hygiene can alleviate symptoms.

17- Home Remedies for Gritty Eyes

17 home remedies for gritty eyes

When you find yourself battling the discomfort of gritty eyes, reaching for home remedies can be your first line of defense. These natural, easy-to-follow solutions can provide relief and complement professional treatment. Let's explore some practical home remedies to soothe those irritated peepers:

1 Warm Compresses

Think of a warm compress as a gentle hug for your eyes. Soak a clean, lint-free cloth in warm (not hot) water, wring out excess moisture, and place it over your closed eyes for about 10-15 minutes. This helps open clogged meibomian glands, easing dryness and discomfort.

2 Eye Massage

With clean hands, gently massage your eyelids in a circular motion. This can help stimulate oil production and improve tear distribution.

3 Lid Hygiene

Cleanliness is key. Use a mild, tear-free baby shampoo or an eyelid cleanser to gently wash your eyelids. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue.

4. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for overall health, including eye health. Drinking enough water can help maintain the moisture balance in your eyes.

5. Blink Regularly

When using digital devices, we tend to blink less, which can exacerbate dryness. Make a conscious effort to blink regularly to spread your tears evenly.

6. Humidify Your Space

Dry indoor air, especially during the winter months, can parch your eyes. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home or office.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, such as salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts. These can support healthy tear production.

8. Vitamins for Gritty Eyes

Essential vitamins like A, C, E, D, B, and zinc are vital in maintaining eye health and relieving gritty eye discomfort. A balanced diet and professional guidance can ensure you get the right nutrients for optimal eye comfort.

9. Cold Cucumber Slices

Keep cucumber slices in the fridge and place them on your closed eyelids for a refreshing, soothing effect. The coolness can alleviate discomfort.

Aloe Vera: The soothing properties of aloe vera can help reduce eye irritation. Use a clean, damp cotton ball to apply aloe vera gel to closed eyelids.

10. Potato Slices

Similar to cucumber slices, cold potato slices can also help reduce puffiness and soothe irritated eyes.

11. Chilled Tea Bags

Brew a cup of chamomile or green tea, let the tea bags cool in the fridge, and place them over your eyes. The natural anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief.

12. Avoid Eye Rubbing

Although it may be tempting, rubbing your eyes can worsen irritation and potentially damage the delicate cornea. Try to resist the urge.

13. Use a Screen Filter

If you spend a lot of time in front of screens, consider using a blue light filter to reduce eye strain and dryness.

14. Adjust Your Environment

Reduce exposure to allergens like pollen or dust by keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons and using air purifiers.

15. Stay Away from Smoke

Smoke, whether from cigarettes or other sources, can exacerbate eye irritation. Avoid exposure whenever possible.

16. Limit Contact Lens Wear

If you wear contact lenses, consider giving your eyes a break by wearing glasses occasionally, especially if you're experiencing discomfort.

17. Good Sleep

Ensure you get sufficient quality sleep. Sleep is essential for overall eye health and recovery.

Itchy Eyes at Night

Itchy eyes at night can be an annoying problem with a few possible causes. Allergens like dust mites, pet dander, or pollen in your bedroom often trigger these itches. Reduced tear production during sleep can lead to dryness and itching. If you have conjunctivitis, symptoms can worsen at night. For contact lens wearers, extended use can also result in discomfort. To find relief, consider a bedroom humidifier, maintain good eye hygiene, reduce allergens in your sleep environment, and consult an eye care professional for tailored solutions.

The Best Supplement for Dry and Gritty Eyes in Canada

Finding the right supplement can make a significant difference in your eye health when seeking relief from the discomfort of dry and gritty eyes. One standout option, particularly in Canada, is Allbe's Eye Care. This supplement has gained recognition as one of the best solutions for addressing dry eyes.

Packed with beneficial ingredients like Maqui Berry Extract, Carotene Extract, and Lutein Extract, Allbe's Eye Care offers targeted support for optimal eye comfort.
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