Do you find that your eyes are red or bloodshot often? What causes the redness? Red eyes are common enough that there are many products and treatments out there to help clear them up. Having red or bloodshot eyes occurs when the blood vessels in the eyes swell or dilate. Red eyes can develop over time or they can appear suddenly, especially if you have an eye injury. They can be caused by infection, lack of sleep, an allergy, eye condition and more. Find out the cause of your red eyes and what you can do to clear them up!
Have you ever noticed that you wake up in the morning and you have red eyes? How about getting red eyes during allergy season? The white part of your eye turns red because the blood vessels in your eyes are swollen or dilated. You have many blood vessels right on the service of the white part of your eye, which is the sclera. When they dilate or are swollen for one reason or another, you notice them because they are on the service. You may also hear red eyes referred to as “bloodshot eyes”. You can get bloodshot eyes as a quick reaction to an eye injury or an allergy.
Your eyes become bloodshot when the small blood vessels become congested and enlarged with blood. Studies show that this is because there is not enough oxygen reaching the cornea of the eye. If your eyes are bloodshot, odds are that the color will go back to normal. If not, the redness is caused by something a bit more serious.
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 cause of red eyes include:
As you can see, many things can be causing your eyes to turn red. However, you can rule out some of these causes if you know your red eyes are caused by something you did. If you don’t get enough sleep, your eyes might be puffy and red. If you swim without goggles on, the chemicals (such as chlorine) in the water can irritate the tissues of your eyes, turning them a red color.
If you have pink eye—which is also referred to as “conjunctivitis”—there is cause for concern. Pink eye is when the conjunctiva part of your eye—which is the clear tissue that lies your eyelid and the outside of your eye—becomes inflamed. This condition gives your eye a pinkish-red color all over. Patients with this condition will have symptoms such as red eyes, increased tears, eye discharge in varying colors, and crusting of that discharge. Some patients 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 and then other things. 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, which is why you need help from an eye doctor.
Never rub your eyes if they are red. That includes if your eyes are red because you didn’t sleep much the night before. Rubbing your eyes will only make the redness worse. If you have an infection or chronic condition, rubbing your eyes may cause you quite a lot of pain or could burst a blood vessel, making your eyes appear bloody. There are a few things you can do for red eyes if they are not caused by conjunctivitis:
Also make sure you avoid smoking or drinking, which can cause changes in your eyes. Wear goggles if you go swimming and never share eye products with another person. If you use eye drops, never touch the dropper tip to your eye.
As we mentioned, red eyes are often the cause of an infection or a chronic condition. Generally, an infection won’t clear up on its own and simple rewetting drops won’t make your problem go away. You will want to seek the help of an eye doctor anyways, as many infections, injuries and conditions become painful very quickly if you don’t. Prescription medications and eye treatments can help your eyes turn white once more and feel better. If your eyes are red and stay red for more than 24 hours, call our Peeper’s Optical office right away at (303) 333-2800!