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What Causes Glassy Eyes & How is it Treated, Prevented?

What are Glassy Eyes?

Glassy eyes can be defined as a medical condition when a person`s eyes are usually fixed at something with more gleam and shine in the eyes. It is important to know the causes of glassy eyes, its treatment and prevention for better management.

Glassy eye is a common medical condition when the eyes of an individual are filled with more light and gleam than usual. For an onlooker, this condition looks like the other person is facing hard time in facing attention at something. But this condition of glassy eyes is easily diagnosable and treatable. Glassy Eye is triggered by various factors such as dry eyes, lack of moisture in the eyes, injury etc.

What are Glassy Eyes?

Causes of Glassy Eyes

Here are some of the main causes of glassy eyes.

Blinking less often is one of the commonest causes of glassy eyes. This may be due to just a habit of blinking less or other minor factors while it can also be related to some eye problems. Glassy eyes of lesser intensity is also seen in alcoholic people, which usually improves once the effect of alcohol diminishes. Alcohol on the other hand is also a grave reason why people have glassy eyes. Alcohol actually depresses and highly influences the central nervous system. It also affects the functioning of eyes like size control and blinking.

However, there may be other cases, when the causes of glassy eyes may be related to some serious medical condition. For instance, conjunctivitis or some other type of related eye ailment which is produced by a virus can seriously cause glassy eyes condition. Moreover, medical conditions like hypoglycemia, chicken pox, shingles and hyperthyroidism may also lead to glassy eyes. Similarly, any severe injury to eye like a punch or tear may also produce glassy eyes. It`s seen in many cases that over the counter and prescribed; both medicines can alter the functioning of eyes.

Highlighting Important Causes of Glassy Eyes

  • Viral conjunctivitis caused by Adenovirus is a very common cause of glassy eyes. It can lead to a slight redness in the eyes along with a tear.
  • Herpes virus, which also causes chicken pox and shingles also contributes to this eye condition
  • Different allergies too are a common cause of glassy eyes
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, is also known to be one of the important causes of glassy eyes. It produces various physical and psychological condition in a person which can even lead to glazed eyes
  • Taking certain drugs, which affect the nervous system can also cause glassy eyes. If the drug is highly influencing the nervous system and depressing it, it can also lead to lead to less blinking thus causing glassy eyes.

Treatment of Glassy Eyes

Since the condition of glassy eyes isn’t a very serious condition, once the main cause is diagnosed, treatment can effectively reduce the symptoms and render cure for glassy eyes. The main aim is to figure out the trigger or the actual cause of glassy eyes. In few patients, bringing slight changes in the lifestyle can normalize the abnormal appearance. Treatment of glassy eyes depends on the underlying causes and degree of severity.

To deal actively with glassy eyes, it is important to treat the underlying cause and take necessary steps to prevent the trigger factors. For instance, if the condition of hypoglycemia is the reason behind glassy eyes, then the actual blood sugar level has to be normalized. The patient is this case is advised to consume food after every 2-3 hours, since prolonged gaps between meals leads to low blood sugar which would cause glassy eyes.

Specific treatment of glassy eyes, based on common conditions include

  • For conjunctivitis, frequent washing of the eyes, helps in addition to using prescribed eye drops.
  • If the dry eyes is the main cause, the patient is advised to wash his eyes at least 3-4 times a day.
  • Over the counter eye refreshing drops is also an option that can be opted by the patient. Especially for those who work for long hours on computers and laptops and this continuous glare into screens causes this condition.
  • Also, if glassy eyes are caused by any sort of medications, then the doctor will substitute it by another medication.
  • The treatment of glassy eyes also emphasizes on effective eye care and preventive measures.

Prevention of Glassy Eyes

Prevention of glassy eyes aims at taking necessary action to prevent this condition and to control the triggers.

  • Since glassy eyes are mainly side effects of dry eyes (or not frequent blinking), it can be prevented by providing the eyes with right moisture. The simple way of fixing this issue is blinking enough which is a natural and involuntary action of the eyes to render the eyelids with moisture. This moisture keeps the eyes hydrated for a long time.
  • As computer screen and prolonged work causes more dryness of eyes, people with glassy eyes need to be more careful. The best way for prevention of glassy eyes, is to take frequent breaks from your work and adjust the brightness of the screen to avoid eye strain.
  • However, in extreme cases, when the blinking capacity of a person goes low or the dryness in the eyes hinders your work, artificial tears or eye drops, as advised need to be are administered by the doctor to provide the eyes with moisture. The prime motive of giving these eye drops is to remove the impurities of the eyes, thoroughly clean them and provide the eyes with the much needed moisture. Though these eye drops are available over the counter yet it is appropriate to consult an ophthalmologist before putting them in the eyes.
  • Another simple way of prevention of glassy eyes is to increase your water intake. This would keep you hydrated and enhance the overall moisture in the body.

Self- monitoring of medical conditions and triggers of glassy eyes is very important. Patients need to keep a watch and make note of changes in their symptoms and report the same to the doctor. It not only helps in timely diagnosis but also helps to plan appropriate treatment and prevention strategies.


  1. Mayo Clinic: “Dry Eyes.” Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863 A trusted resource on dry eyes, a common cause of glassy eyes.
  2. WebMD: “Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar).” Source: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/what-is-hypoglycemia Information on hypoglycemia and its potential link to glassy eyes.
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Tear Basics: Why the Eyes Need Tears.” Source: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/dry-eye-causes-treatment A comprehensive guide to the importance of tears and their role in eye health, relevant to glassy eyes.
  4. MedicalNewsToday: “What you need to know about conjunctivitis.” Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/157973 Information on conjunctivitis, a potential cause of glassy eyes.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 11, 2023

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