What Are the Most Common Dry Eye Symptoms?

Are your eyes dry or irritated? These are some common signs or symptoms of having dry eye syndrome. Several factors can result in dry eye syndrome. This is a condition characterized by a lack of adequate quality tears to keep your eyes moisturized.

Typically, dry eyes cause burning, constant eye scratching, and irritation. In some instances, you may have blurry vision.

Although these side-effects may not seem severe, chronic dry eye can lead to major vision problems. Tears ensure your eyes function normally, wash out debris, and prevent infections.

When left untreated, dry eyes can damage your cornea, a condition referred to as keratitis, leading to irreversible scarring. Scarred corneas are at an increased risk of ulceration and infection, which makes you more vulnerable to vision loss.

The symptoms of dry eye range from mild to moderate to severe. You might not experience dry eye symptoms all at once.

Usually, they occur gradually and can last for a couple of hours to a few days if they are not permanent. Symptoms associated with dry eye include:

Mild Symptoms

  • Uncomfortable contacts
  • Sandy or gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Blinking excessively
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling or redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus around the eyes

Moderate Symptoms

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Excessive tearing
  • Twitching eyelids
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Eye fatigue

Severe Symptoms

  • Experiencing vision fluctuations
  • Inability to cry
  • Finding it difficult to work in front of the screen, reading, or any other activity that requires continuous visual attention

While dry eye syndrome is common in women and older adults, anyone can experience the condition. Here are some of the common causes of dry eye:

Screen Time

Whether you are staring at your computer or mobile device, high screen time can lead to dry eyes. If you already have symptoms of dry eye syndrome, spending more time behind your screen can make it worse.

Looking at digital devices reduces your blink rate. Blinking is a large part of what keeps your vision clear. When you don’t blink enough, your eyes suffer as a result.

Medical Conditions and Medications

A medical condition or prescribed medication can cause dry eyes. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes, and arthritis can result in the production of fewer tears. Taking medications like decongestants, blood pressure drugs, and antidepressants can make your eyes feel drier or more irritated.

Eye Makeup

Particles from your makeup, including mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow, can transfer into your eyes. This can irritate and cause your eyes to become dry, making tears evaporate faster.

If you have dry eye syndrome, it’s advisable to avoid makeup until the symptoms clear up.


Diagnosis starts with a complete eye exam to check for signs of an irregular tear film and dryness as well as the causes of these symptoms like plugging of the natural oil glands in the eyes and inflammation. Several other eye tests may also be carried out.

Ophthalmologists at Short Hills Ophthalmology are leading experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye. Eye diagnosis is essential because dry eye syndrome results in an unstable tear film, with the loss of water causing progressive deterioration of the surface of the eye.

Effective Dry Eye Treatment

If you are exhibiting symptoms of dry eye, the doctors at Short Hills Ophthalmology can help. Although there is no silver bullet to the condition, proper management results in considerable improvement in comfort.

After a thorough eye exam, Short Hills’ ophthalmologists will use a systemic, multifaceted approach tailored to your unique needs and symptoms. Want to put an end to your dry eye discomfort?

Contact Short Hills Ophthalmology in Short Hills or Clifton, NJ today to schedule an appointment and discuss your dry eye treatment options with one of our eye doctors.

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Short Hills, NJ 07078
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777 Passaic Ave Suite 485
Clifton, NJ 07012
Fax: 973-473-4811
Mo: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Tu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
We: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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