The most common cause of a gritty irritated dry eyes comes from dry eye disease.
The surface of the eye is covered by a tear film. When there is excessive evaporation or too little water being produced then at particular points in the tear film the water becomes very salty. The grittiness comes from these numerous small salty areas and this then can trigger pain sensation. Indeed if the tear is of very poor quality then there may actually be damage to the underlying surface of the eye, think of it like a river bed when it is dry and the mud develops numerous small fine cracks over the surface. Each of these breaks can expose the underlying nerves and create the same gritty sensation as a bit of sand or salt in the eye.
How can my eye be watery if it is dry?
The body initially responds to the increased saltyness or damage to the surface by pouring a lot of water over the surface of the eye. Now the tear film is actually primarily a gel layer. All this water can actually cause a patient with a dry eye to have a watery eye. The quality of the water that is released is not sufficient gel enough and it just runs down out of the eye leaving dry patches on the surface of the eye.
Do not rub the eyes:
Remember not to rub the eyes aggressively however gentle massage of the eyelids is recommended after applying a hot compress to manage your dry eye disease.
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