Eye Redness and Dryness
What Are Red Eyes?
Red eyes are a type of eye disorder in which the white part of the eye — sclera gets reddened. This condition is also known as bloodshot eyes.
The appearance of red eyes can be different varying from person to person. There can be multiple squiggly red lines on the sclera or the whole white area may get reddened.
The redness can develop in one or both eyes.
Some well-known symptoms behind red eyes include:
- Discharge from one or both eyes
- Blurry Vision
- Watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
In some cases, people don’t notice any symptoms other than the redness. While it suggests a minor eye problem due to irritation, eye redness can also be a symptom of serious eye disease.
What is Dry Eyes Syndrome?
People often experience red-eye and they think the redness will go away once they use a couple of eye drops and sleep through it at night. Mostly, they are right. However, in some cases, when the redness is accompanied by severe inflammation or dryness, they should not take it lightly because it may suggest a serious eye disorder such as Dry Eyes. When your eyes become dry, they don’t produce enough tears to keep the surface between the eye and eyelids lubricated.
Some symptoms of dry eyes are (along with eye redness):
- Burning sensation
While dry eyes are a serious disorder, it affects very few people and most of the time, the eye redness is a minor eye problem. So let’s discuss eye redness in detail.
What causes red eyes?
Eyes become red when the small veins situated between the sclera (white part of the eye) and conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye), become swollen or inflamed. Both lifestyle habits and environmental pollution contribute to the causes of eye redness.
The causes of Red eyes usually are an allergy, eye fatigue, over-wearing contact lenses or common eye infections such as the pink eye (conjunctivitis). However, the redness of the eye sometimes can signal a more serious eye condition or disease, such as uveitis or glaucoma.
Environmental causes of red, bloodshot eyes include:
- Overexposure to sunlight (without UV-blocking sunglasses)
- Dry air (arid climates, airplane cabins, office buildings, etc.)
- Smoke (fire-related, second-hand cigarette smoke, etc.)
- Airborne allergens (causing eye allergies)
- Air pollution
- Airborne fumes (gasoline, solvents, etc.)
- Chemical exposure (chlorine in swimming pools, etc.)
Common eye disorder that has many symptoms including red eyes are:
- Irritation due to contact lens
- Eye allergies
- Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)
- Digital eye strain
- Dry eyes syndrome
Eye redness can also be due to severe eye diseases like:
- Acute eye
- Eye infections
- Corneal ulcer
- A complication of eye surgery such as LASIK, cosmetic eye
- Eye trauma or injury
Some lifestyle factors can also put you at risk of getting red eyes. For instance, someone who smokes marijuana and tobacco. People who consume alcohol can also get red eyes. Sitting in front of screens and getting less sleep also contributes to the red-eye risk.
How to get rid of red eyes
Since eye redness can be caused by numerous reasons (including both minor illnesses and serious diseases which demand immediate treatment). Visit an eye specialist if your eye becomes red suddenly and gives you discomfort.
Don’t take eye drops for dry eyes or red eyes without the approval of your eye doctor. Some eye drops have elements which can narrow the blood vessels. Eye drops make the eye whiter by making them smaller. It might be okay to use them once in a while but using them frequently can damage the blood vessels.
If you need eye drops to prevent red eyes and the redness comes back after a few days, consult an eye doctor.
The best way to treat red eyes is:
- Notice the symptoms carefully that you experience other than red eyes
- Write them down on a piece of paper so you don’t miss out any symptoms
Your doctor will find the cause of bloodshot eyes and will suggest the best treatment options.
Until the time you meet your doctor, replace contact lenses by eyeglasses. Use additional eye gears when you go to a dry or hot place. Avoid exposure to the sun. Also, take your contact lenses along with you when you see the doctor. He will evaluate whether the material used in contact lenses is causing red eyes.