Red eye is the result of changes in the blood vessels in your eye that make your eye look red or bloodshot; it may occur in one or both eyes.
Red eye is usually caused by irritation, infection or trauma. Even everyday causes, such as coughing, sneezing, crying, and lack of sleep, can lead to redness in your eye. Red eye is often accompanied by other eye symptoms, including burning, itching, soreness, tearing and discharge. Physical irritation leading to red eye can be caused by smoke, smog or dust in the air or by household cleaning products or personal care products, such as shampoo or soap that get in your eyes. Prolonged wear of contact lenses also causes irritation that produces red eye.
Most red eye is a result of a mild condition and usually resolves on its own. In rare cases, red eye may be a symptom of serious conditions that can threaten your vision and your health. Because your eyes and vision are vital to your quality of life, be sure to see your health care provider if you have any eye symptoms that cause you concern.
Causes of Red Eye
Red eyes are caused by the enlarged and dilated blood vessels in the surface of the eye (conjunctiva) becoming irritated. This could be a medical emergency or a non-emergency. One of the most common cause of red eyes are allergens and environmental irritants such as pet dander, pollen, dust, blowing wind, dry air and sun exposure. People who lack sleep will also experience red eyes. Eye infections and inflammations can cause red eyes, as well as other symptoms such as itching, discharge, pain and vision problems like blurred vision. If a contact lens wearer doesn’t keep their lenses clean and disinfected, or wears them for too long, they can experience red eyes.
Treatment of Red Eye
If you’re experiencing bloodshot eyes due to allergies or environmental irritants, you can try using oral antihistamines or over the counter eye drops like Visine before seeking further medical attention. This solution often clears up red eyes after a short amount of time. Dry eyes usually result in red eyes, and artificial tears sold at any local store could be an easy fix to the problem. Rubbing your eyes will only make the situation worse and can bring on separate symptoms? Avoid touching your eyes all together, even if you’ve washed your hands thoroughly. Oils and debris can stick to your fingers, or get under your fingernails and cause more redness, even scratch your eyeball. If the environment is bothering your eyes, change your location. Stay away from pets and pollens if possible. You could also try using an ice pack over your eyes. The coolness of the pack relieves different symptoms like swelling and pain, and could alleviate the redness. You could also consider rinsing your eyes with warm and cool water. This can work as an “irrigation” type system that will cleanse your eyes without harming them. There are also eye washing solutions that can be used to rinse out your eyes. They have a mild formula that will not hurt your eyes any further, or cause anymore redness. If you still feel like your red eyes are caused by a more serious condition or if the red eyes will not go away, call your doctor and make an appointment.