What is Red Eye:
Redness in the eyes, also called bloodshot eyes, can be a cause for concern. If you have redness in only one eye, it may be nothing to worry about. On the other hand, some people experience the same degree of redness, pain and vision change in both eyes. This could indicate something more serious such as glaucoma, an inflammation of the optic nerve that leads to loss of vision.
Causes of Red Eye:
Let's look at the various causes of eye redness. We'll go over what each one is, what causes it, and any additional symptoms to be aware of.
Eye sensitivity, or allergic conjunctivitis, is an immune reaction that happens when the eye meets with a bothersome substance. This substance is known as an allergen. Allergens may include dust, residue, or smoke. To avoid diseases, the immune system regularly defends the body against unsafe invaders, like microorganisms and infections. In individuals with sensitivities, however, the immune system confuses an allergen with a hazardous substance. This makes the immune system make chemicals that fight against the allergen, even though it might be harmless overall. The response causes various aggravating side effects, including irritated, red, and watery eyes. In certain individuals, eye sensitivities may additionally relate to dermatitis and asthma.
2. Dry Eye
Tears are necessary for the health and comfort of our eyes. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce the proper type of tears or tear film.
Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- Red eyes
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they become more visible. This is what causes the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink.
Pink eye symptoms include:
- Redness of the eye
- A gritty feeling in the eye
- Discharge from the eye that forms a crust overnight that may prevent your eye from opening in the morning
- Excessive tearing
Blepharitis causes the eyelids to swell and become itchy. It’s not usually serious and can often be treated by washing your eyelids every day.
The symptoms of blepharitis include:
- Sore eyelids
- Itchy eyes
- A gritty feeling in the eyes and flakes or crusts around the roots of the eyelashes.
- Eyelids also stick together in the morning when you wake up
Uveitis causes the eye to become red and swollen. Inflammation is the body's response to illness or infection. Uveitis may happen if you have problems with your immune system.
Inflammation due to uveitis can lead to eye redness as well as other symptoms, such as.
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain,
- Eye floaters
- Sensitivity to light
Scleritis is an inflammation of the sclera (the white part of the eyeball). It affects older people and women more than men. Many people with scleritis also have rheumatoid arthritis or inflammation of the bowel, or long-standing infection elsewhere in their bodies.
Scleritis symptoms include:
- Tenderness of the eye
- Redness and swelling of the white part of the eye
- Blurred vision
- Extreme sensitivity to light
In addition, red eye can also stem from other causes.
Alcohol: Alcohol reduces oxygen supply to red blood cells and thereby causes blood vessels to clump together and make the eyes appear red and bloodshot.
Smoking: Tobacco can cause eye diseases that affect a person’s vision, like glaucoma and cataracts. Tobacco smoke is also a toxic eye irritant that can cause dry, red, and itchy eyes. Smoking marijuana also causes red, bloodshot eyes. An ingredient in marijuana causes the blood vessels in the eye to dilate, producing red eye that can last for hours or longer.
Whitening eye drops: Eye drops that claim to whiten eyes contain vasoconstrictors, chemicals that temporarily reduce redness by shrinking blood vessels on the surface of the eye. The drops do get rid of red eye, but the fix is temporary. Many people who regularly use these types of eye drops build up a resistance to their whitening effects, which means that they will need to use more and more drops each time to achieve the same results.
Treatments for Red Eye:
1. Artificial Tears:
You can soothe irritated eyes by using artificial tears, which are available over the counter. Keeping them in the refrigerator can provide additional relief.
2. Reduce Screen Time:
It is a good idea to reduce the amount of time you spend staring at a computer screen or phone. That way, you reduce your risk of developing problems like eyestrain and dry eyes.
3. Wash your hands:
Make sure to wash your hands frequently. Don't touch your eyes or the surrounding area if your hands aren't clean.
4. Avoid Irritants
Try to minimise contact with irritants in your environment during the recovery period, such as pollen, tobacco smoke, or chemical fumes.
5. Avoid wearing contacts
If you wear contacts, avoid wearing them until your symptoms have gone away.
If you experience red eye accompanied by pain, sensitivity to light, swelling or blurry vision, it is important to see an eye doctor. The ophthalmologist may recommend artificial tears. These eye drops act like a body's own tears and are available without a prescription.