Red eyes

Red eyes are a common problem that we experience, brought on by a number of external factors and aspects of modern living. The reason eyes appear red and distressed is due to blood vessels on the surface of the eyes becoming aggravated and dilated by an infection or irritation.

Most cases of red eye are painless and just make life a bit uncomfortable for a short while. However, if your red eye is causing serious pain or doesn’t improve after a few days then you should seek advice from your optician or GP.

What causes red eyes?

It’s important to remember that red eyes are typically caused by a minor eye condition, however in cases where red eyes are causing you pain, there may be a more serious condition at play.

Painless red eyes are often caused by conjunctivitis, an eye condition that arises after the conjunctiva in your eyes have become inflamed due to infection, an allergic reaction or a response to an irritant.

Dry eye syndrome can sometimes cause eyes to redden due to their lack of moisture. Dry eye can be treated with over the counter eye drops, used to rehydrate eyes and ease discomfort and irritation.

It’s also not uncommon for a burst blood vessel to be the cause of red eyes. Blood vessels can burst as a result of straining or coughing severely, and appear as red blotches on the surface of your eye. However, these are not usually anything to worry about and will disappear within a couple of weeks.

If your red eyes are causing a lot of pain, this could be down to a more serious eye condition such as uveitis or glaucoma, or could be the result of a corneal ulcer or scratch.

These conditions can be harmful to your eyes and sight, and should be identified and treated by an optician or GP as soon as possible. Glaucoma, in particular, can pose a more serious threat to your vision if not treated quickly.

How to get rid of red eyes?

As stated, most cases of red eyes will clear up quickly without any treatments, however it does depend on the case of your red eyes. So, if they are causing you some pain or don’t improve after a short while, make sure to visit your eye doctor or GP to find out the cause.

If this is a regular occurrence, then it’s advisable to seek medical help to find a more long-term solution.

Another valuable tip is to temporarily stop wearing your contact lenses while you allow your eyes the time to heal.

Here are some home remedies you can use to ease the discomfort and relieve the symptoms:

  • If the redness is the result of dry eyes, you can use eye drops to refresh and soothe your eyes
  • Apply a warm damp towel to your closed eye and hold it there for around 10 minutes to increase the blood flow to the affected area. This allows your eyes to naturally lubricate themselves, easing discomfort
  • A cool damp towel can also be applied in the same way to reduce swelling and itchiness. However, make sure the towel is not too cold, so as not to aggravate your eye