Eye redness, which is mostly a minor eye problem — occurs when the blood vessels in the eyes get swollen or irritated. It is also known as bloodshot eyes.
While most of the time, these problems can be treated by home remedies or by using over-the-counter eye drops — some eye redness problems which are related to serious eye diseases or syndromes may require emergency treatment.
In a nutshell
- Eye redness, in most cases, is a minor eye problem which can be treated easily
- The problem can be serious if the redness is due to an underlying serious disease
- Diabetic patients should take eye redness seriously
- The reason behind it can be dust, cold, dry air or simply an infection
- A doctor should be consulted if the redness in the eye is accompanied by severe pain
Causes of Red Eyes
There are numerous reasons for eye redness. Occurring due to an inflamed vein, most common causes include:
- Overexposure to sun
- Allergic reactions
- Dry air
- Viral infections or bacterial
Eye infections are another culprit behind red eyes. Occurring in different parts of the eye — eye redness is not the sole symptom that infections will have, it will be accompanied by various other signs.
Some common causes of eye redness are:
- Corneal Ulcers — open sore of the cornea
- Inflammation of the conjunctiva — a sensitive layer which covers the eyelid
- Inflammation of the uvea — uveitis
- Inflammation of the eyelashes due to clogging of tiny oil glands (blepharitis)
Apart from some other causes of eye redness, some could be:
- Scratches on cornea
- Heavy pressure in the eye (acute glaucoma)
- Bleeding in eye
- Marijuana use
- Wearing contact lenses too often
- Inflammation of the whiter part of the eye (scleritis)
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Trauma or injury to the eye
When should you contact your doctor?
Eye redness can be treated by home remedies or through over the counter eye drops. However, if the problem lasts or gets severe — seek assistance of an eye specialist:
Some other signs which indicates you need to contact your doctor include:
- The problem persists or lasts for more than a week
- Sudden changes in vision occur
- Inflammation or pain in the eye
- Discharge from one or both eyes
- Sensitivity to light with a headache
- Blurriness in vision with a headache
- Regular intake of blood-thinning medicines
- Rings or floaters in the vision
- Frequent nausea, vomiting and headaches which lasts for extensive periods
How can the symptoms of eye redness be treated?
Redness in eyes caused by blepharitis or conjunctivitis can be treated at home and does not require a consolation of an eye specialist.
- Avoid contact lenses or makeup during red eyes
- Wash your hands frequently
- Don’t touch your eyes
- Use eye lubricant drops
- If you experience eye dryness use artificial tears
If the eye redness does not go away after trying all the solutions at home (even if there is no pain or irritation) — visit an eye doctor.
The eye specialist will study your medical history and examine your current health conditions. To treat red eyes, a saline solution is injected into the eye to remove any irritable substance.
The eye treatment may vary depending upon the symptoms and severity of the disorder. Doctors recommend different procedures to cure the disease. Usually, antibiotics and eye drops work. Sometimes, the eye specialist recommends the patient to wear eye patch which helps limit exposure to light. The eye heals more quickly when not exposed to light.
How can you prevent eye redness?
Maintaining proper hygiene and wearing eye gears which can stop irritants from entering eyes are some good ways to prevent eye redness.
Some other ways to prevent red eyes include:
- Don’t take eye drops without the advice of your eye specialist
- Avoid sport activities which include risk on injury especially to the eye
- Take off makeup before going to bed
- Get rid of the contaminated eye quickly by washing them
- Do not over wear contact lenses
- Avoid any non-reliable eye drops that can make your eyes irritated
- Don’t rub your eyes habitually
- Don’t sit in front of a bright screen for longer periods
- Clean your lenses every day
- Wash your eyes immediately if they become contaminated