Red eyes is a condition where the white part (sclera) of the eye turns red or looks bloodshot. Sometimes, the redness shows up as squiggly lines, while other times the redness colors the entire sclera. It can occur in one or both eyes and is associated with a number of symptoms like burning, itching, irritation, pain or discharge.
Red or bloodshot eyes have many causes, ranging from benign to serious. Let’s explore the reasons why your eyes may look red and how to address your concerns with your ophthalmologist.
What Causes Red Eyes?
There are tiny blood vessels located between the sclera and clear conjunctiva of the eye. When these blood vessels become swollen, they give the appearance of red or bloodshot eyes. Typically, red eyes are caused by allergies, eye fatigue or the over-wearing of contact lenses, but there are other triggers as well.
For example, redness in one or both eyes can signal an eye infection like pink eye or a more serious condition like uveitis or glaucoma. Lifestyle habits can also contribute to swollen blood vessels in the eyes, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, getting insufficient sleep or not wearing proper eye protection when outdoors.
How Can I Get Rid of Eye Redness?
Most people feel embarrassed by having red eyes. While clearing up the redness is important, the first step is to determine why your eyes are red in the first place. There could be a problem that needs to be addressed, particularly if the redness is accompanied by discomfort or blurred vision.
If your eyes are red for more than a few days, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. This way, they can rule out serious conditions and provide you with the proper treatment. Avoid using red eye remover drops until speaking with your eye doctor because many of these products shrink the blood vessels.
Plus, if you have a chronic problem like ocular allergies, your eye specialist can prescribe the best treatment before things get worse. Oftentimes, people need a certain mix of medications or a new type of contact or lens solution for the problem to go away.
When are Red Eyes a Problem?
Usually, red eyes are nothing to worry about. Until you schedule your appointment, it’s best to wear glasses instead of contacts and moisten your eyes with preservative-free lubricating drops. However, if your red eyes are the result of an eye injury, head injury or recent surgery, it’s best to see your eye specialist right away. This could be a more serious situation.
If you are struggling with red, bloodshot eyes, schedule an appointment with Empire Retina Consultants. We can determine the cause of the redness and prescribe the appropriate treatment to get you feeling and looking better in no time!