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Family Eyecare Associates

Mar 1, 2024

Gritty Eyes: Why Do My Eyes Feel Like There’s Sand in Them?

Have you ever felt like there’s sand in your eyes? This is known as gritty eyes, and it can be a frustrating and uncomfortable feeling. There are many different causes of gritty eyes, which can make it difficult to find the best treatment. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of gritty eyes and what you can do about them. 

Dry eye syndrome 

Dry eye is the most common cause of gritty eyes. Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or when the quality of your tears is poor. Along with gritty eyes, other symptoms of dry eye include a burning or stinging sensation, watery eyes, redness, itching, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. Many factors can contribute to dry eye, such as aging, hormonal changes, medications, medical conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, and environmental factors like air conditioning or heating. 

If dry eye is causing your symptoms, your eye doctor may suggest artificial tears, light therapy, prescription eye drops, or lifestyle changes like using a humidifier or taking breaks from screens. 


Another possible cause of gritty eyes is allergies. When your immune system overreacts to allergens like pollen or pet dander, your eyes may become red, watery, itchy, and, of course, gritty! Over-the-counter antihistamines or prescription allergy medications can help reduce these symptoms. Wearing glasses or sunglasses outside can also protect your eyes from allergens like pollen. If you’re looking for new glasses or sunglasses, visit the Family EyeCare Associates optical to shop our stylish selection of glasses and sunglasses in Tacoma, Washington!

Environmental factors 

Environmental factors like wind and dust can irritate your eyes and make them feel gritty. Similarly, spending long periods staring at a computer screen without taking breaks can strain your eyes and lead to discomfort. Wearing protective eyewear when working outdoors or riding a bike can help prevent this type of irritation. It’s also important to take regular breaks from screens to give your eyes a chance to rest. Try following the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you spend in front of a computer screen, take a 20-second break and focus on an object at least 20 feet away.  

Contact lens wear  

If you wear contact lenses, they could be contributing to your gritty eyes. Improper cleaning and disinfection of contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye), which can cause discomfort and grittiness. If you wear contacts and experience gritty eyes, talk to your eye doctor about switching to a different type of lens or using lubricating drops to keep your eyes moist. 

Gritty eyes can affect your daily life and productivity, but there are many possible causes and even more treatment options! If you’re dealing with this issue, it’s crucial to see your eye doctor so you can get the right treatment. 

At Family EyeCare Associates, our experienced team can help figure out what’s causing your gritty eyes and develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve your discomfort. If dry eye is the culprit, we offer dry eye treatment in Tacoma, Washington to provide you with long-lasting relief. Schedule an appointment with us today!