Bloodshot eyes, or red eyes, are an extremely common nuisance that can be caused by irritation or injury. They can range anywhere from a mild case that can go away on its own to needing a home remedy to provide relief to needing medical attention. Let’s explore what red eye is, what causes it, how it can be prevented, home remedies to ease it, and when it’s important to see a doctor for your red eyes.
What Are Red Eyes?
Red eyes are well-named, as it is a general term to describe red, irritated, and bloodshot eyes. It’s triggered when the blood vessels under your eye’s surface become inflamed or enlarged.
This affliction can occur in either one or both eyes and can appear suddenly or develop over time.
Some common symptoms that accompany red eyes include:
- Eye discharge
- Changes in vision
- Swollen eyes
What Causes Red Eyes?
Red eyes are generally caused by an irritation to the eye, which can come in many forms.
Blepharitis is a common form of inflammation that can be triggered by bacteria or issues with the glands underneath the eyelids.
Some symptoms include:
A stye is a red bump that appears in the eyelid. It can be caused by a bacterial infection and can be linked to blepharitis.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. This typically happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, which increases the pressure in the eye and ultimately causes damage to the optic nerve.
Apart from red eyes, some other symptoms of Glaucoma include:
- Decreased or blurred vision
- Severe pain in the eye or forehead
- Seeing rainbows or halos
Pink eye, or Conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection that causes inflammation of the tissues in the eyelid. You can get pinkeye from viruses, bacteria, allergens, and other causes. When you have pink eye, the white parts of your eye turn to light pink or red, and your eyelids are puffy or droopy. There may also be discharge and crusting coming from the infected eye.
A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when the blood vessels just beneath the surface of the eye break. This can be caused by coughing, a blood disorder, or high blood pressure.
It will go away on its own within a week or two and is generally considered to be harmless.
Dry eyes occur when the eyes produce fewer tears, which can generally be caused by environmental factors or using computer screens for too long without a break.
Red eyes can be caused by wearing contact lenses for too long.
If chemicals irritate or touch your eyes, this can cause red eyes. If this happens, you should rinse out your eyes immediately with water.
Eye injuries in general can cause red eyes. This can include:
Allergies are your body’s negative reaction to a foreign object. They are extremely common and can range from harmless reactions to severe.
Almost all allergic reactions involve red eyes as a symptom, but can also include:
- Stuffy, itchy, or runny nose
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Shortness of breath
Preventing Red Eyes
Some cases of red eyes can’t be avoided, like if they are a symptom of an underlying disease. However, there are some instances in which red eyes can be prevented.
Make sure to:
- Avoid rubbing your eyes
- Keep your contact lenses clean or wear them longer than what is recommended
- Remove your eye makeup properly
- Take regular breaks from staring at a computer screen
- Avoid irritants like dust, smoke, or pet dander
- Practice good hand-washing techniques
Home Remedies For Bloodshot Eyes
If you have a mild case of red eyes, then there are some practices you can do at home to try and ease them.
For a warm compress, soak a towel in warm water and avoid letting it get too hot. Place the wringed-out towel on your eyes for around ten minutes. This will increase the blood flow to the area, as well as increase oil production to create more lubrication for your eyes.
Do the exact opposite for a cool press. Soak a towel in cool water and place it over your eyes for ten minutes. The cool compress will help to relieve swelling and itchiness from the irritation that red eyes create.
Artificial tears can be utilized not only to add lubrication to your eyes but to keep them clean, as well. You can get artificial tears over the counter.
See a Specialist at Cleveland Eye Clinic
Unfortunately, not all cases of red eyes can be addressed by at-home remedies. Some situations are more severe or indicative of an underlying cause.
So, when should you see a doctor?
- You experience loss of vision
- You feel significant pain
- You recently experienced head trauma
- You’ve had a recent eye surgery
- You have a chemical injury
- You have a history of severe pain
If you are experiencing red eyes and any of these symptoms or circumstances, contact our team of highly skilled professionals at Cleveland Eye Clinic.
You can either call us at 1-216-238-0317 or schedule an appointment online.