Red eyes are something that can be triggered by a very wide range of factors. Whatever the cause is, it always makes us look tired or sick, which very often is the case. Eye redness is not a natural condition and it is a way in which our eyes tell us that we should look after ourselves better in one way or another. There are many ways to reduce the redness of your eyes, but hardly any can help you get rid of all the symptoms immediately. That’s why it’s important what causes the eye redness and how to prevent it so that red eyes don’t take you by surprise before an important event or an interview.
Causes And Symptoms Of Red Eyes
Red eye is a general term that may refer to the red, irritated or bloodshot eyes. Its severity may range from bright red lines that cover the entire sclera to dark red, enlarged blood vessels. Eye redness may be caused by various factors, often occurring simultaneously.
Eyes need to be properly lubricated and nourished and it’s the job of the tear glands. When they don’t work properly, you might suffer from the so-called dry eye syndrome. If your eyes don’t get enough lubrication, they can become irritated, itchy and red in a very short time. This syndrome may occur occasionally or be a permanent condition, but in both cases you need to address it accordingly, otherwise you risk an eye infection. Very often regular use of appropriate eye drops solves the problem.
Computer Vision Syndrome
When you work at the computer, you normally blink less often than when you do things that don’t require a prolonged looking at the screen. This may cause eye dryness and redness so it’s very important to look after your eyes properly if working with a computer is an inevitable part of your daily routine. Below we give some tips how to do it.
Wearing contact lenses may increase the possibility of getting red eyes, but only in certain circumstances. It may happen if you don’t follow a proper hygiene routine when you put the lenses on and when you take them off. You should follow the directions of the contact lenses manufacturer, never wear them longer than they are intended to be worn and take them off for the night (unless they are special lenses that can be worn overnight, too) to give your eyes a break. Also, remember to adjust the lenses properly. If you buy lenses for the firs time, contact the doctor first so that he helps you choose the best type of contact lenses for your eyes. The market offers a wide range of products nowadays, including contact lenses for people with astigmatism and hydrating lenses.
When you suffer from an allergy to pollens, pet dander or dust or when you happen to have an occasional allergic reaction to a cosmetic, your body produces histamines that enlarge the blood vessels and make your eyes red. It is usually accompanied by hyperactivity of tear glands, so very often when you suffer from an allergy, people will ask you if you cried. Allergies may disappear on their own, but they may also become more severe, therefore, it’s very important to treat them with the help of your doctor.
Physical damage to the eye or the eyelids usually results in eye redness, too. It can be something accidental, like a scratch, or it may be the result of an eyelid surgery or any other medical or cosmetic treatment we decide to have. If you observe the symptoms of redness in the eye accompanied by pain, always contact the doctor.
By the time you get to the symptoms of corneal ulcers, you are the most likely to have gone through the initial stages of the problem, like an infection or trauma, which are accompanied by eye redness, too. That’s why it’s very important not to neglect red eyes if you don’t see any reduction of the symptoms. The infection of the cornea is a serious disease and might be even sight-threatening.
When the middle layer of the eye, called uvea, gets infected, your eyes become red. This condition is also accompanied by visual disturbances, blurry vision and sensitivity to light. Uveitis may be caused by a malfunction of the immune system, an eye injury or trauma. If not treated on time, uveitis may lead to some more serious problems, like cataracts, high ocular pressure or detached retina.
The virus that causes cold sores, type 1 simplex virus, may also cause a viral infection of the eye. When you suffer from ocular herpes, also called eye herpes, you have red and swollen eyes, your eyes become light sensitive and teary and in the majority of cases, you feel pain. It is extremely important that you treat eye herpes immediately as it’s very difficult for the eye to heal on its own and if left untreated, the eye herpes may lead to scarring of the cornea and be sight-threatening.
Whitening Eye Drops
Even though it might sound weird, whitening eye drops may also be the cause of red eyes. While they might be a good and effective solution when you use them once in a while, their prolonged use may actually hurt your eyes. Eye whitening drops are designed to shrink your the blood vessels in the eyes and give you an immediate effect of nice-looking, white eyes. It’s not a good idea, though to keep using them in order to look healthy and well-rested. It’s better to actually be healthy and well-rested. Your eyes build up resistance to this type of products after some time and you can develop a condition caused rebound hyperemia. One of its symptoms is, of course, eye redness.
Alcohol, Smoking and Lack of Sleep
These three causes of red eyes often go along and it’s not unusual that people wake up on a Sunday morning and don’t recognise the face they see in the mirror. Alcohol dehydrates your body, including the eyes. Smoke irritates them and when you deprive your body of a proper rest, you always end up with red eyes. Every smoker knows very well how tobacco and smoke affect the eyes. They become red and bloodshot and the condition gets even worse in the case of those who smoke other things, not only tobacco. THC, contained in marijuana, makes blood vessels in your eyes dilate and causes serious eye redness that can last for hours. Alcohol reduces the oxygen flow in your blood, which makes red cells clump together, which results in bloodshot eyes.
If you are pregnant and you started noticing that your eyes get red more often, you have no reason to worry, unless you feel some pain in your eyes or your vision has become very blurred. The cause of red eyes during pregnancy is related to hormonal changes that affect the whole body of a pregnant woman. Normally, there is no need to contact the doctor about it. You can use some of the simple home remedies we recommend below. The good news is that the eye redness will go on its own as soon as the hormones get back to the normal balance after the child is born.
Home Remedies For Red Eyes
If your eyes get red very often or if the condition lasts for a few days and there is no improvement, you should contact the doctor. However, if it’s only an occasional problem, there are many simple home remedies that will help you get rid of red eyes fast, without the use of eye drops or medicines.
Cooling down your eyes makes the blood vessels shrink and will help you reduce the redness of your eyes immediately. Take six metal tablespoons and put them into a glass with cold water and one ice cube. Cool them down, take two of them and place over your closed eyes with the concave side toward your skin. Hold them like this until they get warm, then take another pair of cold spoons and repeat the process. Do it with the third pair as well. You can place the warm spoons back in the glass with cold water and use them again. Continue this treatment for about twenty minutes. This will give you a relief from itchiness and reduce the redness and swelling of your eyes. If your red eyes are caused by lack of sleep, chances are that you also have dark circles under your eyes. The use of cold spoons may help you lighten those circles, too.