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Can Dry Eyes Cause Blurry Vision?

man rubbing eyes due to dry eyes and blurry vision

Dry eyes are a very common cause of blurry vision. If your blurry vision becomes temporarily clearer after using lubricating eye drops, dry eyes may be to blame. 

Experiencing blurry vision and dry eyes individually can be a nuisance, and when combined, the two may be symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that can put your eyes in a constant state of discomfort.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to detect, treat and prevent dry eyes and blurry vision.

Dry eyes and blurry vision

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that can cause both dry eyes and blurred vision. Other symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome include:

While it’s highly likely that your blurry vision is being caused by dry eyes, it’s possible that you have another underlying condition, such as a vitamin deficiency or lupus.

SEE RELATED: Causes of blurry vision

Causes of dry eye and blurred vision

Dry eye symptoms can be caused by anything that disturbs the natural tear film of the eyes. Your tear film has three layers: mucus, aqueous fluid and fatty oils. These three components work together to keep the eye moist, comfortable and clear of debris.

Though dry eyes commonly result in blurry vision, there are a variety of other causes that can lead to blurry vision and dry eyes, including:

  • Certain medications that cause dry eye symptoms, such as antihistamines and blood pressure medicine.

  • Dehydration, resulting in decreased tear production.

  • Increased tear evaporation caused by too few fatty oils in the tear film.

  • Wearing contact lenses, which reduces the oxygen supply to the eyes.

  • Certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, that can cause eyes to become dry.

  • Extended, uninterrupted screen time resulting in eye strain, blurred vision and dry eye symptoms.

  • Vitamin deficiency, specifically Vitamin A.

  • Eye surgery

SEE RELATED: Blurry vision and diabetes 

Treatment and prevention for dry eyes and blurred vision

There are many ways to treat dry eyes and blurry vision from the comfort of your home. However, if the at-home remedies below do not seem to improve your symptoms, it’s recommended that you consult with an eye doctor for a professional opinion.

  • Use over-the-counter eye drops to help moisturize your eyes throughout the day.

  • Blink more often to allow your tear film layers to spread moisture across your eyes.

  • Stop smoking and avoid smoke, as it worsens dry eye symptoms.

  • Take frequent breaks when performing tasks that require intense visual focus, like reading or computer work. Every 20 minutes, close your eyes for a few seconds and allow them to rest.

  • Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier in your office or bedroom, especially if you live in a dry climate.

  • Avoid having air blow into your face or eyes, including from air conditioners, fans, hair dryers, etc.

  • Take nutritional supplements such as Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Drink more water. This will improve your dry eye symptoms, skin, fatigue and overall health.

When to see an eye doctor

While most cases of dry eyes and blurry vision can be managed without the help of an eye doctor, there are some circumstances where medical attention is needed, including:

  • Prolonged difficulty seeing objects up close or at a distance.

  • Eye discharge that is yellow or green.

  • Fever that accompanies blurry vision and/or eye pain.

  • Frequent headaches.

  • Nausea.

  • Uncontrollable watering from eye(s).

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