Mild to moderate dry eye can be annoying, but it’s manageable and can often be reversed. Severe dry eye, on the other hand, is much more unpleasant. More than interfering with everyday life and lowering your productivity, it can lead to corneal damage and vision loss.

Today, we look at the early signs of severe dry eye and talk about some of the more subtle severe dry eye symptoms. First, though, let’s review the causes of severe dry eye.

Causes of Severe Dry Eyes: Quick Overview

Severe dry eye can occur as a development of untreated dry eye disease, also known as dry eye syndrome. It may also have specific triggers. Some people can go on to develop severe dry eyes even if they manage dry eye syndrome accordingly.

Common causes leading to severe dry eye include medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants, hormonal changes induced by menopause or pregnancy, eye surgery, and environmental factors like wind, dust, and smoke.

Using digital devices for extended periods can also play a role in the development of the condition. We dedicated an entire post to the causes of severe dry eye – you may want to read it to find out more.

Signs of Severe Dry Eye

Most of the time, severe dry eye won’t occur overnight. It will announce itself through milder symptoms. Paying attention to these symptoms is important to catch the condition early and treat it effectively.

1. Persistent Dryness or Gritty Feeling

Dryness or grittiness in the eye is one of the characteristic dry eye symptoms. In the case of severe dry eye disease, it’s more pronounced and more persistent than for mild to moderate dry eyes.

So much so that it may cause serious discomfort and even pain. Rather than coming and going, it can last for most of the day and interfere with the close work that you do. Waking up with very dry eyes is also common.

woman with blonde hair and white shirt rubbing eyes after waking up

Severe eye dryness occurs because of insufficient tears or an unbalanced tear film that fails to protect and lubricate the surface of your eyes. It can occur in the case of both evaporative dry eye and aqueous dry eyes.

2. Reaching Out for Artificial Tears Constantly

When you’re living with severe dry eyes, your tear glands may produce very few tears. As a result, the surface of your eye may become very dry.

So it’s only natural that you may feel the constant urge to reach out for the bottle with artificial tears. The persistent dryness associated with dry eye disease may even make you dependent on artificial tears.

Unfortunately, artificial tears are not necessarily the answer. Some studies show that the long-term use of artificial tears may not always improve dry eye symptoms. It may even make dry eyes worse.

3. Burning, Irritation, and Redness

A burning sensation in the eye can be another sign that your dry eye has become severe. This can be a bothering sensation that makes you want to keep rubbing your eyes.

Some patients with severe dry eye syndrome also experience bothering irritation and redness. This can occur in both eyes or be more persistent in one eye.

Irritation and redness happen when tears don’t lubricate the surface of your eye properly. It may also be a reaction to the use of artificial tears. Even tears meant to soothe dry eyes can cause irritation.

4. Excessive Tearing

It may sound like a contradiction, but severe eye dryness can cause reflex tearing. This means that even if your eyes feel dry, they could still water constantly.

woman wiping one eye with a napkin while crying

For your eyes to be properly lubricated, your tear film needs to be balanced, containing water, oil, and mucin layers. In excessive tearing, the tears may have a predominantly watery content. This means that despite their volume, they won’t lubricate your eyes properly.

Reflex tearing can be more pronounced with severe dry eye disease. It may also feel like you’re crying when your eyes are in fact very dry.

Good to know: We wrote a post on what causes watery eyes. Check it out to learn more. 

5. Blurred Vision

Some people with severe dry eyes also experience constant blurriness. This may be bad enough that it makes it difficult to read or work on a computer.

Blurriness in dry eye disease can be the result of excessive tearing and irritation from the use of eye drops. In rare cases, severe dry eye disease can lead to scratches on the cornea.

When there are not enough tears to wash away small particles on the surface of the eye, these may cause abrasions on the cornea. This can result in dry eye related blurriness and vision loss.

6. Pain When Wearing Contact Lenses

All forms of dry eye can make it unpleasant to wear contact lenses. But severe dry eyes can make wearing contacts particularly annoying. When you have severe eye dryness, it’s best to swamp your contact lenses for eyeglasses.

This will allow the surface of your eyes to breathe. Oxygen has to reach the surface of your eyes for your tear film to be replenished. Contact lenses cover the surface of your eyes, preventing oxygen from reaching it.

Tip: Learn more about managing dry eye while wearing contact lenses and how to choose contact lenses for dry eyes.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy and Happy

Treating severe dry eye is crucial to soothing symptoms and reducing the risk of complications that can lead to vision loss. Eye health supplements can be an effective part of this treatment. 

Natural plant-based supplements like SightC and Blueberry Gummies provide nutrients that can nourish your eyes and tear glands. The antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients in these supplements support eye health and promote a healthy and balanced tear film. And since they are diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, and suitable for vegans, you can take them regardless of your diet.

SightC and Blueberry Gummies are now available as part of the Severe Dry Eye Relief Bundle. This bundle was designed to provide you with enough capsules and gummies to last you a month.

Try now the Severe Dry Eye Relief Bundle.

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