Red eyes: causes, advice against eye irritation

How are red eyes characterized?

Redness of the eye is most often due to dilation or rupture of the small blood vessels that supply the eye.

They can be caused by a multitude of factors and pathologies, ranging from simple irritation to more serious ophthalmological diseases, which constitute emergencies.

Redness can be associated with pain, tingling, itching, decreased visual acuity, etc. Pain and loss of vision are warning signs: the redness as such is not necessarily worrying.

What causes red eyes?

Many factors can irritate the eye and cause redness:

  • the sun
  • irritating products (soaps, sand, dust, etc.)
  • fatigue or prolonged work in front of a screen
  • the allergies
  • dry eye
  • a cold
  • a foreign body in the eye or a contact lens problem

This redness is most often not serious and fades in a few hours.

More serious illnesses or injuries can also cause eye redness to appear, usually accompanied by pain, itching, discharge, or other symptoms. Note, among others:

  • conjunctivitis: inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. Often accompanied by itching and discharge.
  • blepharitis: inflammation of the eyelids
  • corneal lesions or ulcers: caused by viral or bacterial infection
  • uveitis: is inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented membrane that includes the choroid, ciliary body, and iris.
  • Glaucoma
  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage (after a shock, for example): is a circumscribed blood red spot
  • Scleritis: inflammation of the episclera, the “white” of the eye

What are the consequences of red eyes?

The redness or irritation of the eye is often not serious, but it can indicate a potentially serious injury. If you notice a decrease in visual acuity, consult urgently.

Similarly, if the redness appears after an injury, if you see halos, or suffer from headaches and nausea, it is an emergency.

When the redness persists for more than a day or 2 and is accompanied by discomfort or pain, sensitivity to light, or purulent discharge, it is important to get an appointment with you fast enough with the ophthalmologist.

What are the solutions for red eyes?

Since eye redness has a multitude of causes, the solution will depend on the diagnosis.

If it is a trivial redness, related to fatigue, the sun, or a small irritation, try to rest your eyes, wear sunglasses and avoid screens for a while. In case of soap, dust, or other irritants in the eye, it is possible to rinse it with plenty of water or with a solution of physiological liquid to reduce the irritation.

In other cases, the ophthalmologist may prescribe an appropriate treatment, such as artificial tears in the event of dryness, antihistamine eye drops in the event of an allergy or antibiotic in the event of infection, corticosteroids in the event of inflammation, etc.

Image Credit: Image by user18526052 on Freepik

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