Ouch! My eyes feel like there is grit in them but there isn't

Why do my eyes feel like there is grit in them?

If you feel like your eyes have grit in them, it could be a sign of an underlying eye condition.

Let’s consider some of the most common conditions associated with eye grittiness and get down to finding the correct treatment available.

grit in eyes


This eye condition is associated with an inflammation of the eyelids and typically focuses around the eyelids. There are a variety of different causes of this condition which include, allergic reactions, dermatitis and rosacea.

Symptoms in addition to gritty eyes include:

  • dry eyelids and dry eyes
  • greasy eyelashes
  • eyelid pain or discomfort
  • eyelash loss
  • abnormal eyelash growth
  • tearing
  • itchy, sore and red eyelids that can stick together or eyelid swelling.

This is a common condition and is easily treatable with eyelid scrubs, medicated eye drops or ointments, amongst other treatments.

Corneal abrasion

Feeling like there is grit in the eye could be an indication of corneal abrasion which is basically a scratched eye that can cause serious discomfort and a sensitivity to light. This is a loss of the epithelial layer of the cornea, which could be caused by a minor trauma such as sports injury, contact lenses or dirt.

Symptoms in addition to grittiness include:

  • foreign body sensation
  • blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • eye discomfort or pain
  • pink or red eye and tearing.

Treatments include bandage contact lens and medical eye drops.

Dry eye syndrome

This is chronic dryness caused by a reduced quantity and quality of the eye’s tear film. There are a variety of reasons why someone can contract dry eye syndrome including, specific systemic diseases, long-term contact lens wear and ageing.

Further symptoms of dry eye syndrome in addition to grittiness include:

  • eye discomfort or pain
  • foreign body sensation
  • burning
  • light sensitivity
  • itching, tearing and frequent blinking.

Treatments typically include ointments and eye drops depending on severity.


Eye grittiness is also an indication of keratitis. This is inflammation of the eye cornea, which is caused by an inflammatory process or an infection. In addition to eye grittiness, symptoms include eye discomfort or pain, light sensitivity, tearing and foreign body sensation.

When to see a doctor

If your eyes are constantly feeling gritty and it’s causing problems with your vision, or eye pain or discomfort, it’s best to see your Optometrist as soon as possible to gain a proper diagnosis. This way you can treat the condition effectively and get your vision back to normal.

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