Red eyes are easy to detect because the eyes will look very swollen and feel itchy, uncomfortable, watery, and, occasionally, full of discharge. The bloodshot look of red eyes often comes from the bursting of blood vessels in the eye.
A few common reasons for red eyes are the aforementioned broken blood vessels, inflamed eyelids, and/or a sty in the actual eye. Conjunctivitis or “pink eye” is also a common contagious illness that affects the eye and turns it very red and swollen-looking. You can also get red eyes from allergies to pollen, dander, or dust; or come down with a case of dry-eye when your tear-glands produce an insufficient amount of lubrication for your eyes.
There are many other causes such as swimming, smoking, or spending too much time on the computer that also causes your eyes to go red.
Here are some tips to get rid of red eyes effectively.
Try Eye Drops
There are two main varieties of eye drops depending on the severity of your eye redness. There are over-the-counter eye drops and prescription eye drops. Over-the-counter are inexpensive and faster to acquire, but sometimes prescription eye drops are needed for an infection that is persistent or very painful. Lubricating eye drops are great for dry, itchy eyes and mostly come in over-the-counter form. They mimic the sensation of tears and add moisture and comfort to your eyes.
There are also decongestant eye drops, which are great if you have red eyes due to a cold or the flu. Resist using decongestant eye drops if your eyes are overly dry as these drops tend to make those symptoms worse. Decongestion mainly helps your eyes look less red by shrinking the red vessels and helping clear your infected sinuses along with other cough and flu medication you might be taking.
Antihistamine eye drops are great for those suffering from allergies. This eye drop will reduce the itchiness, redness, and puffiness of the eyes while providing lubrication and comfort.
Place Ice or Cold Compresses on Your Eyes
Reducing the temperature of your eyes actually constricts blood vessels, and will help the redness go down as well as soothe any swelling and irritation.
Try placing two frozen metal spoons over your eyes and resting for twenty minutes. If you do this a couple of times within an hour, your eyes will feel much better and chances are they will look less red and puffy.
An ice pack or cold cloth will also work well, but the proximity, metal and shape of the spoons on your eyes tend to be a speedier cooling process.
Give it Time
As frustrating as it is to have a red eye, sometimes the best thing to do is wait for the redness to subside. This is a good option if the cause of the redness is specifically from a burst blood vessel. You can burst a blood vessel easily if you are on certain blood-thinners or exercising rigorously. You can even burst a blood vessel if you are constipated. The redness subsides in about a week, is painless, and typically only occurs in one eye at a time.
When To See a Medical Professional
If your eye redness and pain is persistent and preventing you from seeing properly or sleeping, be sure to speak to a medical professional who can prescribe to you an eye drop that suits your needs or other tips to keep the infection or rupture from worsening.
If you think you have pink eye, see a doctor immediately to receive a prescription. You’ll know it’s pink eye if the redness starts in one eye and within a day spreads to the other, if the eye(s) feels leaky, irritated, and itchy and is swollen.
Stay home from work and rest as pink eye is very contagious. Be sure to wash your hands frequently with good quality soap and hand sanitizer and avoid touching your eyes or face until the infection is gone. This will prevent your friends, family, or others from contracting pink eye from you.
Find Out More and Ask Questions
Everyone’s eyes are unique and it’s good to ask medical professionals such as the eye specialists at Advanced Eye Medical about any red eye symptoms, eye infection prevention, and good cleaning habits for your contact lenses to avoid redness in your eyes.