Do you find that your eyes are red or bloodshot often? What causes that redness? Daily lifestyle habits, medications, products, allergies, viruses and more can cause red eyes. Many issues come on over time. However, if you suddenly get red eyes that have accompanying symptoms such as pain, burning, itching and more, it could be a serious problem. Find out the common causes of red eyes and what you can do about them!
There are many causes of red eyes. Some stem from eye infections or eye diseases, while other reasons may be from what you did over the last 24 hours. The most common causes include:
If you swim without goggles on, chemicals (like chlorine) can irritate the tissues of your eyes, turning them a red color. Infections—especially pink eye—also cause red eyes. The conjunctiva part of your eye—or the clear tissue that lines your eyelid—becomes inflamed. Patients get red eyes, increased tears, eye discharge and crusting. Some feel a gritty feeling in their eyes or they feel itchy, irritated and burn.
Pink eye is caused by allergens, irritants (such as chlorine), but more commonly by bacteria and viruses. You can easily spread pink eye to other people, especially if you share makeup or touch your eyes often. That is how the bacteria or virus is spread. If you ever have eye discharge, call us right away. There are different types of conjunctivitis, so treatment will vary depending on the patient.
Spring allergies are a very common cause of red eyes. Allergies can produce the same type of symptoms as pink eye or other types of conjunctivitis. In fact, eye allergies are commonly referred to as “allergic conjunctivitis” because of the common types of symptoms both produce. As the seasons change, flowers, weeds, tree leaves and other foliage starts to grow. That growth sends spores into the air with the wind alongside pollen and other allergens. Because of what’s in the air, people begin to have reactions to the spores coming in contact with the body through the nose, mouth and eyes.
If you’re feeling symptoms such as sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, congestion, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, a dry cough and more, allergies are likely the issue. You get these symptoms because of your immune system reacting to allergens in the air.
Options for relieving eye allergies include:
Long-term UV damage is known to be a risk factor for many eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, blindness and more. If you already have an eye issue, not wearing proper protection can make your condition worse. Photokeratitis is snow blindness that happens when you don’t wear protective sunglasses or goggles. And yes, we know that it is currently spring. However, photokeratitis, eye sunburns, windburn and more can happen with any person who is exposed to too much UV rays without protection. It’s just more common in the wintertime with snow and ice.
The Vision Council of America reports that around 85% of UV rays in the winter are reflected up, which usually means up into your eyes when you look down. Instead of simply being bright, that amount of light with so much energy can sunburn your eyes, even in just a few minutes. It can also happen with light sand on a beach, where many people frequent in the spring and summer, so be aware of this.
Reflections off bodies of water, off sand, off light surfaces and more can take away your vision for a few minutes. Continual exposure without eye protection will burn your eyes and can cause red eyes, irritation, burns, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing, eye pain, a gritty feeling in the eyes, and seeing halos. Be safe and smart and wear your sunglasses anytime you go outdoors!
We encourage every person to find a good eye doctor in their area so that they know where to go and what to do in an emergency situation. Eye pain is a sign that something is wrong as well as blurry vision. Often, the right medicine or treatment can correct eye emergencies before they become more severe.
Chemical injuries commonly cause red eyes and pain. If you get chemicals in your eyes, flush out your eyes with large amounts of clean water or saline. Seek immediate medical attention immediately. If you have any of the following, call us:
Whether your red eyes are caused by allergies, chemical injuries, hits to the eye, infections or more, monitor your vision quality and red eyes closely. We always recommend calling our office right away when anything abnormal is happening. Red eyes aren’t normal. Call Peeper’s Optical at (303) 333-2800 to receive help for red eyes or to simply schedule your biannual eye exam!