Red eye can happen to anyone. Even though it has many different causes like dust or dryness but at times you might just strangely wake up to red eyes. No need to panic! All you need to have is get some awareness about red eyes. This article covers the following points to bring to you some good knowledge regarding Red Eyes:
- What is Red eye?
- How do you get it?
- Causes of Red Eye
- Symptoms of Red Eye
- When to Seek Medical Care
- Diagnosis of Red Eyes
- Red Eyes Cures and Treatments
- Home Remedies to get rid of Red Eyes
- Medical Treatment of Red Eyes
- Prevention of Red Eyes
- Red Eyes Prognosis
What is Red eye?
Irritated, red and blood shot eye is generally known as the red eye. Mostly, it does not last for a long time. In this condition, the blood vessels dilate and swell on the eye surface. However, if the symptoms are severe they signal towards serious health issues like uveitis or glaucoma. They require immediate medical attention. The severity of red eye varies. If you have any of the following symptoms then yes you have a red eye:
- bright red eye
- redness that cover sclera completely
- Few wiggly and enlarged blood vessels that appear like pink or red line on the white part of the eye.
Home remedies and simple natural cures are as effective as medical treatments. If red eye persists then always consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. After all it is a matter of your eye.
How do you get red eyes- What causes Red Eye?
If you notice any of the symptoms of red eye, it is important to know its cause in order to determine the right treatment for it. The causes of red eye can be distributed into 3 groups:
- Infectious causes of red eye
- Allergic causes of red eye
- Physical and traumatic causes of red eye
Here is a list of some causes that can help give you a clue about the reason for red eye:
- Allergy – Allergies are one of the most common causes of red eye. The immune system might react to different substances like dust, pollen, chemicals, pet dander or other allergens.
- Conjunctivitis– This is another common cause of red eye also known as pink eye. It is not only an infectious cause of red eye but also extremely contagious. In this red eye infection, conjunctiva is greatly affected.
- Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) – this happens when the eyes are not able to produce an adequate amount of tears in order to provide moisture to your eye. When your eyes are really dry, they are susceptible to irritation and inflammation making it red.
- Red eyes from contact lenses– this cause of red eye is common among people who have a habit of wearing contact lenses for long hours. This occurs when pathogens gather on your eyes. Overuse of contact lenses can commonly cause fungal eye infection. Moreover, contact lenses can aggravate red eye syndrome because they lessen the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea.
- Flu and Cold – Cold and flu will result in red eye as well as puffy eyes because of infection and blocked sinuses.
- Smoking and Alcohol- Tobacco smoking also results in red eye, itchy eyes, and dryness. Blood vessel dilation because of marijuana smoking results in red eyes too. Furthermore, too much consumption of alcohol reduces oxygen in blood vessels causing red eyes.
- Lack of Sleep – Sleeping less than normal may result in red eyes along with eye puffiness and eye bags.
Other causes may include:
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Computer vision syndrome
- Eye Injury and Trauma
- Corneal Ulcer
- Ocular herpes
- Eye Whitening Drops
- Hay Fever
- Iritis disease
- Swimming in chlorinated water
- Environmental hazards
While some of these cause may disappear on its own and are harmless but others can adversely affect your sight and require urgent medical attention. Making sure that the cause of red eye is not sight threatening can be eventually eye-saving for you.
Symptoms of Red eye
The extent of redness of the eye may not be linked to the degree of different symptoms of red eye. Want to determine whether you are a victim of the red eye or not? Here are some of the very common and obvious symptoms of red eye:
- General eye fatigue and pain
- Eyelid swelling and inflammation
- Bulging, protrusion or itchiness
- Stomach ache and pain or bloating
- Eyelid swelling and inflammation
- Existence of pus or mucus
- Twitching of eyes
- Neck pain, fever, Headache, and difficulty in focusing
- Coughing, sneezing and sniffing
- Swollen legs or hands
- Either dryness in eyes or watery eyes
If the cause red eye is some kind of allergy, then symptoms related to allergy may consist of:
- Sinus pain or pressure
- Itching skin
- Post nasal drip
Other symptoms that you might experience with red eye are also associated with sinusitis and grave disease symptoms are:
- Sudden weight loss
- Heat intolerance
- Facial swelling
As soon as you notice any of these symptoms, if the symptoms are severe, you should immediately consult an eye specialist and if they happen to be moderate, then home remedies can be effective and they will go away after some time.
When to Seek a Medical Care
Most of the symptoms of the red eye doesn’t remain for long and go away on their own. Mostly red eye could either cause mild pain or cause no pain at all but you should go to an eye doctor immediately if any of the following happens:
- Severe pain– go to a doctor if you experience severe pain. Mild pain and itchy feeling could be because of conjunctivitis, but severe pain could be a result of open-angle glaucoma, keratitis, corneal ulcer, iridocyclitis or other diseases. Hence, a proper diagnosis is necessary.
- Blurry vision– this is a very dangerous symptom of red eye. Blurry vision in red eye hints towards serious ocular disease. Blurry vision in red eye condition should be enough to ring an alarm.
- Colored Halos– colored halos is an indication of corneal edema or open-angle glaucoma.
- Photophobia- in this condition the eye becomes highly sensitive to light. This condition in red eye is an indication of iritis.
Cures and Treatments for Red eyes
What should you do when you get red eyes? You should consult an eye specialist and get to know what is causing the redness. He will treat you accordingly. Give a chance to natural remedies first and then try out the following medical treatments:
- Artificial tears:
If the reason for the red eye is eye dryness, opt for artificial tears as they help to moisten and lubricate your eyes well. It is easily available at drug stores. Here are some good artificial tears that you can use:
- Major LubriFresh P.M. Sterile Artificial Tears Ointment 3.5gm 12pk
- Liqui Tears, 15Ml (Artificial Tears)
- Rugby Sterile Artificial Tears Ointment 3.5gm 12pk
- Tears Again Eye Ointment, Sterile Lubricant, Night time Relief for Dry Eyes
- Treat allergies:
If the reason for your red eye is some kind of allergy then keep yourself away from allergens like smoke, animal dander, pollen or dust. Counter medications are available to treat the allergies particularly the anti-histamine like Benadryl or Zyrtec. They are good for treating red eye caused by allergic reactions. Opcon-A and Naphon-A are 2 very common vasoconstrictors and antihistamine that you can readily use. However, it is always good to consult your eye doctor before using any of the medicines.
- Wash your red eye:
Rinse your eyes with warm water gently or use contact lens eye washes which are slightly saline. Rinsing your eye will moisturize and soothe your eye.
After diagnosing the cause of your red eye, the physician might prescribe you medicated eye drops.
Prognosis for red eye
Some of the predictions that the symptoms of red eye hint at are:
- Stye or a red bump on the eyelid
- Blepharitis or inflamed eyelid
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage, or broken blood vessel on the sclera
- Serious eye conditions like uveitis, corneal ulcers or glaucoma.
Home Remedies to get rid of Red Eyes
Simple home remedies can be as effective as medical treatment and can greatly assist in constriction of swollen blood vessels, reducing swelling of eyes and soothing your eyes. Want to know the top 10 home remedies to get rid of Red Eyes that you should try? Here it is:
1. Cold Compress
Want to get instant relief? Put cold compresses on the affected areas of the eye. This helps in not only soothing your eyes but also constricting blood vessels.
- Wrap some ice in a towel or cloth.
- Compress your eyes with the ice pack for at least 5 minutes
- Repeat this three or four times a day for recovering faster.
Note: Don’t apply ice directly to the eye as it can cause ice burn.
Anti-irritation qualities of cucumbers assist in minimizing puffiness, irritation, swelling and inflammation that cause itchy eyes. It also soothes your eyes and reduces redness.
- Take a cucumber and wash it properly.
- Cut thin slices of the washed cucumber.
- Put the slices in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Put these slices on the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this 5 or 6 times in a day.
One of the most effective home remedies for itchy eyes is pure rose water. It helps to clear the eyes, soothes and cools them.
- For instant relief, rose water can be used as an eye drop.
- In an inflamed eye, put 3 to 4 drops of rose water
- Wash your eyes using rose water 2 times a day
- Take some cotton pads and soak them in rose water
- Lean on your back and place it on your eye for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this several times in a day.
4. Tea bags
If you are experiencing swelling with redness, then steeping tea bags can be immensely helpful in minimizing redness and swelling. It’s anti-inflammatory qualities soothe the eyes. Both green tea and tea of raspberry work well.
- Take a cup of boiled water and add 2 green tea bags.
- Let it cool.
- Soak cotton pads and place it on your eyes.
- Do this twice a day till you get rid of the symptom.
5. Cold Milk
For itchy and red eyes, cold milk is a famous home remedy. It gives a cooling effect and soothes the thereby reducing redness in the eye.
- Take some cold milk and dab cotton balls in it.
- You can either put the cotton pad soaked in milk on your eyes working as a compress or just rub it gently on the eyelids.
- Repeat this 2 times in a day. Do it once in the morning and once in the evening.
6. Raw Potatoes
Due to the astringent qualities of raw potatoes, they bring relief to itchiness, inflammation and redness in the eye.
- Wash a raw potato and cut out thin slices.
- Put the slices in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Place the cold slices of potato on the eyes for at least 15 minutes.
- Do this once before sleeping and night and repeat it for 2 to 3 days.
7. Water and Salt
Salt and water is a very effective cure for itchy, red and painful eyes. The combination of salt and water, when used as an eye rinse, treats the inflamed and irritated eyes well. It also washes all the dirt that accumulates in the eye. Moreover, salt has antibacterial qualities killing bacteria.
- Take a cup of distilled water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Let this solution come to a boil so that the salt is completely dissolved.
- Let the solution cool.
- Use it to rinse your eyes.
- Do this many times in a day for up to 3 days.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera tends to be very effective for itchy, sore, red and dry eyes because of it moisturizing and soothing quality.
- Scoop out aloe Vera gel from an aloe Vera leaf.
- Combine it with one-half cup of elderberry blossom tea and one teaspoon of honey.
- Combine aloe Vera juice with water and use it as an eye wash.
Fenugreek is a great herbal treatment which brings relief to itchy, red and painful eyes.Immerse some fenugreek seeds in water.
- Leave it overnight for up to 8 hours.
- Make a paste of the seed by grinding it.
- Put a layer of this paste on your eyelids.
- Let it remain for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wash it off using cold water.
- Repeat this 2 times every day for 2 to 3 days.
10. Vegetable Juices
In order to keep a check on itchiness and redness in the eyes, consume fresh vegetable juices especially spinach and carrots are known to be very effective. You can either extract juices of individual vegetables or combine them. Consume the fresh juice 2 times every day until you notice relief from the symptoms.
Diagnosis of red eye
The process of diagnosis will help you determine the main cause of the red eye and eventually help you in treating it. Your eye doctor will diagnose red eye by doing the following:
- Your eye doctor will ask several questions regarding your medical history like injuries, illnesses, allergy history, your usage of contact lenses. This will help him figure out the cause of red eye.
- The doctor will ask about various symptoms of similar infections like iritis, keratitis, hyphema, watery eyes, dry eyes and others in order to narrow down the ailment.
- He will also examine the eye physically looking for signs to figure out the real cause of red eye.
How to Prevent Red Eyes
There are some simple ways you can prevent red eyes from occurring in the first place. Here are some eye redness prevention tips for you to try:
- Avoid products that make your eyes red:
Soaps and Cosmetics like eyelash extensions, eyeliner, and mascaras could be a cause of red eye. Sometimes eye whitening drops also cause red eye.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking:
Make sure you reduce consumption of alcohol and quit smoking. Alcohol results in dryness of eye because it dehydrates the body.
- Balanced Diet:
Having a balanced diet is important. Diet deficient in vitamin B2, B6 and B complex causes red eye. To make your vision better, vitamin A is essential. Make sure you have a proper intake of vegetables especially ones containing carotenoids and lutein.
- Minimize computer and TV hours:
Spending too much time in front of the screen whether computer or TV may cause red eye. After an hour of watching TV or staring at the computer screen, Make sure you take some rest.
- Take proper rest:
Lack of sleep can make your eyes red. Even putting too much strain on your eyes can make it red. Adequate sleep is really important.