Blog Hero

Can Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

Book Your Appointment
a young woman with her glasses off is rubbing her eyes in front of her laptop

Experiencing blurry vision may indicate that you need glasses or contact lenses to help with vision correction. However, blurry vision can also be a symptom of other eye conditions

Conditions like dry eye disease can cause blurry vision as well as redness, burning, and overall discomfort. 

Several treatment options can effectively alleviate symptoms of dry eyes, including blurry vision. Visiting your optometrist can help to determine which treatment options are best suited for your ocular needs. 

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES), also known as dry eye disease, occurs when your tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication and hydration for your eye’s surface. This can result from either reduced tear production or increased tear evaporation. 

Dry eye disease is common and affects an estimated 21% of Canadians. If left untreated, dry eyes can cause corneal damage. 

There are two main types of dry eye disease: 

  1. Aqueous Dry Eye: This type occurs when the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough tears to keep the eyes adequately moisturized.
  2. Evaporative Dry Eye: Often related to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), this type occurs when tears evaporate too quickly from the eye’s surface due to insufficient oil layer production in the tears.

Some individuals may have mixed dry eyes, which means their eyes don’t produce enough tears, and their tears evaporate quickly. 

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Anyone regardless of race, gender, or age can develop dry eye disease but certain factors can increase your risk of developing dry eyes, including: 

  • Environmental Conditions: Windy, smoky, or dry climates can increase tear evaporation.
  • Health Conditions: Certain diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders can affect tear production.
  • Medications: Some prescription drugs, including antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.
  • Age: Individuals over the age of 50 are more likely to experience dry eye symptoms due to natural declines in tear production.

Additional factors that can lead to dry eye disease include: 

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • A stinging or burning sensation
  • Grittiness or the feeling of a foreign body in the eye
  • Redness and swelling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

How do Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

Blurry vision associated with dry eyes results from the eye’s inability to maintain a smooth, clear outer tear layer. This layer is crucial for proper light refraction, which is essential for sharp vision. 

When the eyes are dry, the tear film becomes irregular and cannot properly refract light, leading to blurred vision. This condition can fluctuate throughout the day, especially after prolonged activities such as reading or computer work.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses and experience blurry vision, it may be due to dry eyes. Contacts, in particular, can exacerbate dryness and discomfort because they absorb tear moisture to stay in place, further drying out the eyes. 

However, blurry vision can also result from other factors, including incorrect prescription, eye strain, or other eye diseases. Visiting your optometrist can help to determine the cause of both blurry vision and if dry eyes are the cause.   

Treatment Options for Dry Eyes

Several treatment options can help relieve the symptoms of dry eyes and improve vision clarity. Your optometrist will be able to determine the appropriate treatment plan for you. They include: 

  • Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops can provide immediate relief for mild dry eye symptoms. These eye drops stimulate real tears to keep the eye hydrated. 
  • Prescription Medications: Certain medications, like anti-inflammatory eye drops, oral pills, or corticosteroids can help increase tear production or reduce inflammation. 
  • Warm Compress: Using a warm compress over the eyes and massaging around the area can help unclog oil glands and reduce inflammation around the eyes.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Simple changes, such as taking regular breaks during screen time, using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and adding omega-3s and vitamin A to your diet can help provide comfort.

For severe dry eyes, modern in-office treatments like radiofrequency (RF) treatment, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, and zocular eyelid system treatment (ZEST) can be used to reduce eyelid inflammation and stabilize the tear film.

An older woman is sitting in the exam room while a female optometrist is administering eye drops.

Radiofrequency Treatment

Radiofrequency treatment uses controlled energy to stimulate tear production. This non-invasive procedure involves applying a device that emits radio frequency energy around the eye area, encouraging natural tear production by improving meibomian gland function.

The heat from the treatment also stimulates collagen production in the skin which can help to tighten skin and provide a brighter, youthful appearance. 

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)

IPL therapy is a non-invasive treatment that works by using different wavelengths of pulsating light to target specific areas of your skin. The heat from the treatment can help soften oils in clogged meibomian glands. 

IPL therapy targets the inflammation that contributes to dry eyes. By reducing the inflammation, this treatment can restore normal tear flow and improve dry eye symptoms, including blurry vision.

Zocular Eyelid System Treatment

ZEST is another innovative option that involves a gentle clean-up of the eyelid margin. It uses a gel treatment that contains refined okra extract to lift and clear oil, debris, and buildup along the eyelid. 

ZEST works to help address dry eyes caused by blepharitis, an eye condition that causes crusty, inflamed, and irritated eyelids associated with meibomian gland dysfunction. 

Schedule a Consultation in Mississauga

Dry eyes can cause blurry vision along with a variety of other symptoms. If you’re experiencing these issues, understanding the underlying cause is the first step towards finding relief. 

With a variety of treatment options available, consulting your optometrist can help you tailor a solution that best fits your needs.

Contact our team at Arc Eye Care to book an appointment for your dry eye needs! 

Written by Amany Wissa

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax