Can Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

April 13, 2023

Blurry vision is a common symptom of dry eye disease. With millions of Americans struggling with dry eye symptoms, many are experiencing the disruptions and discomfort of blurry vision. You can reduce or eliminate blurry vision by treating dry eye disease at the source, but chronic blurry vision and dry eyes can also indicate more serious problems.

At Bergen Optometry, we can help you manage and understand dry eye. We utilize advanced treatment technology to address the cause of your dry eye disease—and offer you guidance and lifestyle tips both online and during comprehensive eye exams

Do Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

Dry eye disease tends to signify a problem with the eye’s tear film. Your tears have 3 layers—oil, water, and mucus—that provide lubrication, wash away debris, and reduce your risk of developing eye infections. When there’s a dysfunction in your tear production or drainage, you may experience common dry eye symptoms, including:

  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Stinging
  • Gritty feelings
  • Burning sensations
  • Blurry vision

Dry eye has two common subtypes caused by inadequate tears (aqueous deficiency) and poor tear quality (evaporative dry eye).

Your lacrimal glands produce the aqueous layer of your tear film. This water layer moisturizes your eyes as you blink and washes away irritants from your eyes, and when an insufficient number of tears are being produced, you can develop aqueous dry eye. 

Evaporative dry eye is the most common form of dry eye disease—over 85% of dry eye disease cases are attributed to meibomian gland dysfunction. When your meibomian gland isn’t producing enough oil for your tears, your tears can evaporate more quickly, leading to dry eyes and blurry vision.

An elderly woman squinting while using her phone due to blurry vision.

Other Common Causes of Blurry Vision

You can experience blurry vision even if you don’t struggle with noticeable dry eyes. Some other causes of blurry vision can include:

  • Myopia, presbyopia, and other refractive errors
  • Digital eye strain
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Certain medications
  • Other eye conditions

When you experience changes to your vision, it’s critical to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, so an eye doctor can assess your eyes and address the cause of persistent blurry vision.

Complications of Dry Eyes

It’s easy to brush off mild dry eyes as irritating and inevitable, but you can find relief with treatment for dry eyes and blurry vision. Ignoring chronic dry eye can damage your eye health and cause complications that may require more serious treatment.

Eye Infections

Without healthy tears to wash away particles from your eyes, your risk of eye infections may increase. Common eye infections include:

Symptoms of eye infections can include painful swelling, tenderness, unusual discharge, and more. Your treatment may vary depending on the stage of your infection and whether it’s fungal, bacterial, or viral. See your optometrist if you have any symptoms of an eye infection to begin early diagnosis and treatment.

Contact Lens Wear

Wearing contact lenses can lead to symptoms of dry eye. If your contact lenses aren’t fitted well, or you’re wearing the wrong type of lens for your eyes, you can experience irritation.

When you’re already experiencing dry eye, wearing contact lenses can exacerbate the grittiness and irritation of dry eye disease. Symptoms like blurry vision can prevent your contact lenses from correcting your vision, and you may need to rely on wearing glasses until the cause of your dry eyes is addressed.

How to Treat Dry Eye Disease

During your comprehensive eye exam, our optometrists will speak with you and allow you to describe your symptoms, no matter how mild. Our optometrists may recommend using a humidifier, limiting screen time, using artificial tears, and taking advantage of other treatment options.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a treatment our doctors at Bergen Optometry can use to improve meibomian gland function and promote healthy tear production. IPL treatments can increase tear breakup time, reduce meibomian gland obstructions, reduce bacteria around your eyes, and more.

The non-invasive treatment uses light pulses to help improve the function of your meibomian glands. Our doctors can recommend an IPL treatment plan to help you target the root cause of your dry eyes and get lasting relief from your symptoms.

Treat & Manage Your Dry Eye Disease

Don’t struggle with dry eyes on your own. Schedule an appointment to evaluate your eyes and discuss your options for treatment. We’re here to answer questions about our dry eye therapy technology and get you on the path to relief from blurry vision and other dry eye symptoms.

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