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Can Dry Eye Cause Blurred Vision?

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A woman rubbing her eyes and squinting due to dry eye pain

Getting that itchy or gritty feeling in your eye when you blink isn’t something anyone wants to deal with. This feeling can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome, leading to other uncomfortable symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist is the first step in getting relief from dry eyes.

But can dry eye cause blurred vision? Let’s take a closer look at dry eye syndrome, including its symptoms and treatment methods.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is a vision condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears to stay lubricated, or something has gone wrong with the tear production process. Dry eye is a common condition and affects over 5 million Americans over 50 years old.

Your tears are composed of 3 layers

  • The inner mucus layer is responsible for keeping the tear on your eye
  • The middle water layer keeps your eyes hydrated and repels bacteria
  • The outer oily layer that keeps the surface of the tear smooth and prevents tear evaporation

Dry eye syndrome can occur if the glands that are responsible for producing these elements of your tears are not functioning properly or become inflamed.

Some common signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include: 

  • Eye redness
  • A stinging, burning, or scratchy feeling in your eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stringy mucus near the eye

Your environment can also play a part in the appearance of dry eye syndrome. When your eyes aren’t receiving enough moisture, dry eye disease can affect your eyes. Some causes that can lead to a decrease in moisture in your eyes include:

  • Exposure to the wind or dry air
  • Aging
  • Long-term contact lens wear
  • Starting at a computer screen for an extended amount of time 
  • Not blinking enough
A woman sitting on a couch and holding her head with her hand due to blurry vision

Does Dry Eye Cause Blurred Vision?

Dry eye syndrome can bring with it several symptoms, including blurred vision. Dry eyes and blurry vision can be caused by various factors, including: 

  • Excessive screen time 
  • Contact lens usage
  • Dehydration
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Underlying health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

These can all cause dry eyes and, subsequently, blurry vision. Blurry vision can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome

However, if you experience a combination of dry, itchy, blurry eyes with unclear vision, your optometrist can determine the underlying cause of your discomfort through a comprehensive eye examination.

Dry Eye Treatment & Management

Dry eye symptoms can vary, and your treatment options reflect that to help you alleviate discomfort and get the long-term relief you deserve. Let’s explore some treatment options.


LipiView is an innovative imaging tool that assesses your tear quality and helps your optometrist determine the cause of your dry eyes.


LipiFlow is a device that sends warmth to the glands in your eyes, simulating a gentle massage. This procedure helps the oils in your glands move easier, providing healthier tears.


BlephEx is a device that gently cleans and exfoliates the eyelids, removing bacteria, biofilm, and other debris. 

BlephEx is a quick treatment to perform and helps achieve eyelid hygiene to combat dry eye symptoms.

Lumenis Optilight (IPL Treatment)

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, also known as IPL treatment, uses gentle pulses of light to treat the underlying causes of dry eye with Lumenis Optilight technology. IPL treatment targets the skin around the eyes to reduce any inflammation and bacterial growth. 

This simple and painless procedure is done at your optometrist’s office. 

Find Relief Today

When dealing with dry eye syndrome, the first thing on your mind is finding relief. Nobody wants to deal with blurred vision and other dry eye symptoms, and your optometrist can prepare a personalized treatment plan following a comprehensive eye examination. 

Book an appointment with your optometrist today to get the relief you deserve from dry eye syndrome.

Written by Dr. Judy Chan

Dr. Chan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California San Diego in 1986 and her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1990 from Pacific University College of Optometry. To broaden her skills, she also completed a year of residency training, specializing in geriatrics and ocular diseases at the Veterans Hospital in Portland. After practicing in the Portland/Vancouver area for nearly 7 years, Dr. Chan purchased her first clinic in Battle Ground, Washington. She found private practice very fulfilling and promptly acquired her second office in 1999.

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