Red eye – what are the causes and how to treat it?

A red eye is usually a pretty common thing to appear and in most cases it is nothing serious to worry about, as it goes away on its own. But there are some cases in which it may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition and if you notice that your eye is being red for a longer period of time it is important to seek medical help in order to get your eyes properly checked in case a more severe condition is developing.

What causes it?

Having a red eye is usually painless and occurs when blood vessels, that are near the surface of the eye, become dilated. There are although some culprits that may make your eyes feel like they are burning – inflamed or irritated. In such cases seek help from a professional.

There are a lot of different conditions and things that can cause a red eye but the most common ones are:

- A foreign object in the eye

- Allergies

- Irritations caused by contact lenses

- Glaucoma

- Dry eye

- Conjunctivitis

- Uveitis

- Inflammation in the eye

- Eye Injury

- Chalazion

- Cigarette smoke may irritate the eyes

- Mold

- Strong perfumes that have been in close contact to the eyes.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms that go with the condition are itchiness, a burning feeling and tearing. The eyes produce a substance that is called histamine in order to fight off the irritant, and due to the histamine, the eyes’ tiny blood vessels under the surface that are under the surface dilate and get inflamed. 

But there are some symptoms and thing that if you notice, you must see a doctor!
Things like:

- unusual light sensitivity

- the redness lasts more then a week after you have tried some home remedies

- experiencing discomfort or pain around the eyes

- unusual tenderness

-the eyes are seeping

-the eyes are encrusted with yellow, brown or green mucous

If your eyes are red for a longer period of time and you experiencing discomfort or any of the symptoms listed above make sure too seek immediate medical attention in order to get your eyes properly checked in case there is a more serious condition that is causing the red eye.

How to treat it?

If your eye doesn’t hurt and you are not experiencing any discomfort it is probably not the result of a more serious condition and it will not last long as it usually gets better on its own. Until it gets better try not to touch and rub your eyes and do not wear any contact lenses as they may irritate the eyes even more. You can use artificial tears as they relieve irritation and wash away allergens from the eye. If you are prone to allergies you can also use antihistamine eye-drops in order to relieve itchiness. Cool compresses placed on the eyes a couple of times a day also help a lot when it comes to relieving the eyes.
Make sure to avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, pets, chlorine, dust, sand and etc.

If the problem does not go away on its own after a few days make sure to contact a doctor as it may be a symptom of a more severe underlying condition!