Red or “bloodshot” eyes happen when the blood vessels in your eyes become irritated and swollen. The reasons for this could be as simple as you:
- Are having an allergic reaction
- Have pink eye (conjunctivitis) or an eyelid sty (blepharitis)
- Have a cold or virus
- Spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun or in front of a computer screen
- Have something in your air
- Have been exposed to dry air
- Scratched your eye with your contact lenses
Redness caused by these reasons usually will not require treatment by a doctor and can be treated with antihistamines or change of environment. If you have conjunctivitis or blepharitis, warm compresses can bring relief. If you use contacts, stop using them until the irritation clears up.
If your eyes do not clear up after a couple of days or become worse, you should seek red eye treatment from your eye doctor.
When to Immediately Seek Treatment
If your eyes are red for no apparent reason or are accompanied by other symptoms like discharge, pain, light sensitivity, or you take blood thinning medications, you should see an eye doctor. However, if you experience a sudden change in vision, nausea, dizziness, headache, or have experienced an eye injury, you should seek immediate medical treatment.
Eye redness can be a symptom of:
- Scratches to the cornea
- Uveitis, an inflammation of the uvea
- Scleritis, an inflammation of the white part of your eye
- Bleeding problems
- Acute glaucoma, which is a rapid increase in eye pressure that can cause blindness
How Are Red Eyes Treated?
When visiting your eye doctor, he or she will ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing. You will be asked about your current health conditions and any medications or allergies you might have. The doctor will ask you how long your eye(s) have been red and if you are aware of what may have caused the problem. Your eyes will be examined, and the doctor may use a saline solution to rinse away any irritants that might be in your eye(s).
Depending on the reason for your red eyes, your eye doctor may recommend different red eye treatments, including antibiotics, eye drops, and the use of warm compresses.
If your eye is extremely irritated, the doctor might recommend that you wear a patch to help your eye heal and to limit light exposure.
Call Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors for red eye treatment.