Afflicted with another bout of dry eyes? The symptoms might last just a few days but could also drag on for months and years.

The duration of dry eyes depends mainly on its underlying causes, severity, and the effectiveness of treatment.

Mild cases of dry eyes last for relatively shorter periods and resolve on their own. On the other hand, severe cases can last longer and benefit from effective treatment measures.

How Long Can Dry Eye Last?

The duration of dry eye can vary widely—it can last from a few hours and weeks to months and years. But in extreme cases, it may also become permanent. Let’s take a closer look at the factors determining the duration of dry eyes.

Underlying Causes

Several underlying causes can make your eyes dry, gritty, and irritated. Some of these causes are easier to deal with than others, and do not last as long.

For instance, if excessive screen time or poor lifestyle habits are the blame for your dry eyes, addressing those issues will resolve your dry eye symptoms within weeks.

On the other hand, if factors like autoimmune disorders are causing dry eyes, the symptoms may take several months and years to clear up.

Severity of Condition

The duration of dry eye can vary based on the severity of your condition. Dry eye disease can range from mild to severe; generally, the more severe the dry eye, the longer it will persist.

woman with blue eye hiding one eye behind tree bark

Mild cases are relatively short-lived. The symptoms are minor and resolve on their own within a few weeks. Moderate dry eye symptoms are more consistent and may last for several months.

Finally, severe or chronic dry eye cases involve intense discomfort and can potentially last for years.

Good to know: We wrote a post on the differences between chronic dry eye vs temporary dry eye.

Effectiveness of Treatment

Whether you have a mild case of dry eyes or a severe one, effective treatment can greatly reduce the duration of your dry eyes. Once you’re aware of the condition, there are a few things you can do at home to quickly alleviate the symptoms.

Apply a warm compress and massage your eyelids to improve the function of your oil-producing glands. You can also rest your eyes, use a humidifier, and keep yourself hydrated to speed up recovery from dry eyes.

Will Dry Eye Go Away on Its Own?

Mild and temporary dry eyes can improve on its own over time. This includes dry eyes due to factors like exposure to allergens, overuse of contact lenses, and excessive screen time.

Chronic or persistent dry eyes is less likely to go away on its own. It’s often caused by factors that affect the quality and quantity of your tears. Without proper management, chronic dry eye symptoms can continue and even worsen over time.

When Does Dry Eye Go Away?

Whether mild or severe, dry eye symptoms go away the moment you address their underlying causes and make lifestyle adjustments.

For mild cases, dry eye symptoms will go away within days once the triggering factors are eliminated. Taking frequent breaks from screens, staying hydrated, and practicing good eyelid hygiene will help.

woman relaxing in a hammock with her arms behind her head against bright green background

If you have a more chronic form of dry eye syndrome, the symptoms might take months and even years to go away. Consult your eye doctor and consistently follow your treatment plan to keep your symptoms under control.

Are Dry Eyes Dangerous?

Mild forms of dry eyes are not dangerous and resolve on their own within days or weeks. But chronic and untreated dry eyes can lead to discomfort, irritation, and potential complications, a 2020 study shows.

These include corneal damage, increased risk of eye infection, and blurred vision. Not to mention the impact it may have on your overall eye health and quality of life.


Experiencing dry eyes due to LASIK surgery, conjunctivitis, or blepharoplasty? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on how long do dry eye symptoms last.

How long does temporary dry eye last?

Temporary dry eye can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks, depending on its cause. For instance, if exposure to dry or windy environments is triggering your dry eyes, your symptoms will persist only as long as you’re in those conditions.

On the other hand, if allergies or eye infections are the culprits, you will need to address these problems first to see an improvement in your dry eye symptoms. 

How long does dry eye syndrome last on average?

A long-term study of patients with dry eyes found that dry eye disease lasts for 10.5 years on average. The study, involving participants with chronic dry eyes, involved 398 men and 386 women aged 60 and above.

The participants responded to a questionnaire about ocular surface symptoms, eyesight-related symptoms, and the social impact of dry eyes. It found that dry eye symptoms worsened over time while also impacting the quality of life in the long run.

How long does dry eye last after LASIK?

Dry eyes is common after LASIK surgery. The symptoms typically peak in the first month after LASIK and last from six to twelve months.

That said, your symptoms are likely to reduce within weeks or months after the surgery. As your eyes begin to heal, they will make more tears for lubrication.

How long does dry eye last after cataract surgery?

Dry eye after cataract surgery is temporary and tends to improve within a month, a 2020 study suggests. The symptoms are often worse during the first week, as the surgery disrupts your tear film.

Additionally, the severity of dry eye symptoms after cataract surgery varies from person to person. The factors influencing this are your age, overall eye health, and pre-existing medical conditions.

How long does dry eye last after conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis reduces your tear production and causes dry eyes. The symptoms can last from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the form of conjunctivitis.

closeup of human eye black and white

In the case of viral conjunctivitis, dry eye symptoms can persist for several weeks after the infection has cleared up. On the other hand, dry eye symptoms due to bacterial conjunctivitis usually improve once the infection is resolved.

How long does dry eye last after pink eye?

The duration of dry eye due to pink eye can vary. It can clear up within 24 hours. But it can also persist for a few weeks after the inflammation and infection have subsided.

Pink eye is the same as conjunctivitis and is caused by viral and bacterial infections. But irritants, allergic reactions, and chlorine in pools can also turn your eyes red or pink.

How long does dry eye last after blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty, a surgical procedure to correct droopy eyelids or remove excess eyelid skin, can contribute to temporary dry eye symptoms. Generally, the symptoms last from a few weeks to months.

The symptoms are most noticeable in the first few weeks after the surgery. They gradually improve as the swelling subsides and the healing starts.

The Wrap Up

When it comes to the duration of dry eyes, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Mild symptoms caused by environmental and lifestyle-related triggers last just a few hours or days. In such cases, will dry eye ever go away on its own? Most of the time, yes.

Severe and chronic symptoms, on the other hand, can persist for months and even years. They are the result of more serious underlying conditions like autoimmune diseases.

Whether mild or severe, early diagnosis and proper management can help minimize the impact of dry eye symptoms and improve your overall eye health.

woman smiling at her reflection in a mirror while holding chin in her hands

An eye health supplement can also help. SightC is a superfood blend formulated to support eye health in the digital age. It provides essential nutrients that can help improve dry eye symptoms and sustain tear gland function.

Learn more about SightC.

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