What Causes Gritty Eyes & How to Find Relief

Jan 1, 2024 | Eye Diseases

Have you ever felt like there’s sand in your eyes? Or maybe like a small pebble is stuck in the corner of your eye? That feeling is called “gritty eyes,” and it’s a common problem for many people. Gritty eyes can be uncomfortable and even painful, but luckily, there are ways to find relief. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the main causes of gritty eyes and how to find relief.

1. Environmental factors

Environmental factors like dry air, wind, and dust can dry out your eyes, leaving less moisture on the surface of your eyes. This lack of moisture can cause itching, burning, and a gritty sensation in your eyes. If you spend a lot of time outside or in dry conditions, you might experience gritty eyes frequently. To prevent this, make sure to wear sunglasses on windy days or use a humidifier at home.

2. Allergies

Allergies can also make your eyes feel gritty. If you have allergies, things like pollen or pet dander can irritate your eyes. This can cause redness, itching, and that annoying feeling of grittiness. Taking allergy medicine or using eye drops can provide some much-needed relief.

3. Computer use

Gritty eyes can occur if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer or phone screen. When we stare at screens, we tend to blink less, which can lead to dry, gritty eyes and eye strain. These electronic devices also emit blue light that can irritate your eyes as well. Taking breaks from screens and using artificial tears can help relieve discomfort. 

4. Contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses can also make your eyes feel gritty. Contact lenses can irritate and dry out your eyes, especially if you’re not cleaning and storing them properly. If you’re experiencing a gritty feeling while wearing contacts, talk to your eye doctor about switching to a different type of lens or using eye drops to add moisture to your eyes.

5. Some medications

Gritty eyes can also occur as a side effect of certain medications. Antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants are some examples of medications that can cause dry eyes and that gritty sensation. If you’re taking medication and dealing with this side effect, ask your eye doctor about alternative options that won’t make you feel as uncomfortable.

6. Medical conditions

In rare cases, gritty eyes may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disease. If your eyes feel gritty and you have other symptoms such as joint pain or fatigue, it’s important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

7. Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly. This can cause your eyes to feel dry, gritty, and sore. At our practice, we offer a range of treatment options for dry eye, including prescription eye drops, punctal plugs to help retain moisture, and lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms.  


If you’re dealing with gritty eyes, don’t suffer in silence. Many factors can cause this uncomfortable sensation, but there are also plenty of treatments available. At Lawrenceville Family Eyecare in Lawrenceville, Georgia, we specialize in diagnosing and treating dry eye syndrome, which is a leading cause of gritty eyes. We’ll figure out what’s causing your gritty eyes and recommend the best treatment for your unique needs. Don’t let gritty eyes affect your quality of life—schedule an appointment with us today!