a young woman suffering from dry eye rubbing her eyes

The Most Common Dry Eye Complaints

Insights From Real Patients

Eye Health | by Dr. Anita Narang

What are your dry eye symptoms?

As an optometrist in Victoria, BC, I’ve encountered numerous individuals struggling with Dry Eye Disease (DED). This condition is more than just a minor annoyance: it impacts your daily life.

Dry Eye Disease is often and easily misunderstood. People tend to think it’s just about having ‘dry eyes,’ but it’s much more complex. It’s a chronic condition that can cause a range of symptoms that can significantly affect your comfort, vision, and overall quality of life.

Through conversations with my patients, I’ve gained valuable insights into the most common dry eye complaints. I believe sharing these insights, and the reasons behind them, can help others feel understood and highlight the importance of seeking personalized care.

1. Persistent Grittiness

One of the most common complaints is a persistent sensation of grittiness, as if there’s sand in the eyes. This feeling can range from mildly irritating to intensely painful.

This sensation arises when the meibomian glands, which produce the oily part of tears, become dysfunctional (MGD) or when there is an imbalance in tear composition. Such conditions prevent the tears from forming a stable, smooth film over the cornea. This can lead to dry spots that irritate the eye surface. Furthermore, this lack of proper lubrication causes increased friction with every blink, aggravating the feeling of grittiness and potentially leading to further complications such as micro abrasions on the cornea.

2. Excessive Tearing

Interestingly, another frequent issue is excessive tearing—a condition that seems counterintuitive to ‘dry eye.’ When the eyes are dry, they may overcompensate by producing an abundance of tears. However, these tears lack the necessary composition—specifically, the oil and mucin layers—that provide lasting relief and proper eye lubrication.

This imbalance results in tears that evaporate quickly or simply run off the eyes without addressing the underlying dryness. Consequently, this leads to a frustrating cycle of feeling both wet and dry.

3. Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue and strain are particularly troublesome for people with dry eye, especially in environments like offices or during prolonged screen use. This fatigue is exacerbated as individuals blink less frequently while concentrating, which is essential for spreading a protective layer of tears across the eye.

Insufficient blinking leads to increased tear evaporation and dry spots, which not only cause discomfort but can also trigger an inflammatory response. This inflammation can intensify symptoms and further degrade the quality of tears, compounding eye discomfort and reducing visual performance.

4. Vision Fluctuation

Fluctuating vision clarity is a particularly unnerving symptom, and is frequently reported by my patients. They describe periods where their vision becomes blurry, often improving with blinking. This symptom is typically due to the uneven distribution of tears on the eye’s surface, affecting the eye’s ability to refract light properly which in turn affects vision clarity.

5. Redness and Irritation

Redness around the eye area is usually a sign of inflammation or irritation on the eye surface, which can often be exacerbated by environmental factors like wind or prolonged screen time. It’s not uncommon to feel self-conscious about the redness and irritation associated with dry eyes. These symptoms affect not only physical comfort but mental wellbeing as well.


We understand that the diverse symptoms of dry eye—from persistent grittiness and excessive tearing to eye fatigue and fluctuating vision—require a highly personalized approach to treatment. You may have experienced one or more of these symptoms and thought nothing of it. But each symptom hints at the underlying complexities of the tear film and overall eye health. Our approach goes beyond just managing these symptoms; we aim to treat the root causes to enhance your overall eye health and quality of life.

Utilizing advanced diagnostic tools, we closely examine these symptoms to pinpoint the exact causes of your discomfort. Based on this detailed assessment, we develop a tailored treatment plan. This includes innovative solutions like Forma-i by InMode, which many of our patients report provides significant relief by the third session of the six to eight week treatment plan.

The Power of Knowledge and Personalized Care

Recognizing the irreversible damage that can occur if the tear-producing glands are left untreated highlights the urgency of addressing dry eye symptoms promptly. Early intervention is key to preventing further deterioration and complications. By understanding the specific nature of your dry eye condition, you gain the power to participate in managing and improving your eye health. Together, let’s ensure the best possible outcomes for your vision and quality of life.

You Are Not Alone

To all my patients and those battling dry eye symptoms, remember: you are not alone. Your concerns are valid, and OUR experiences are shared by many. We are committed to providing the most effective, personalized treatments. We’re not just managing symptoms: we’re working towards improving your overall eye health and quality of life.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, I encourage you to reach out. Together, we can find a solution that works best for you.

Dr. Anita Narang