How are red eyes characterized?
Redness of the eye is most often due to dilation or rupture of the small blood vessels that supply the eye.
They can be caused by a multitude of factors and conditions, ranging from simple irritation to more serious eye diseases, which constitute emergencies.
Redness can be associated with pain, tingling, itching, reduced visual acuity, etc. Pain and loss of vision are warning signs: the redness itself is not necessarily a cause for concern.
What are the causes of red eyes?
Many factors can irritate the eye and cause redness:
- the sun
- irritants (soaps, sand, dust, etc.)
- fatigue or prolonged work in front of a screen
- the allergies
- dry eye
- a cold
- a foreign body in the eye or a problem with contact lenses
This redness is usually not serious and fades in a few hours.
More serious illnesses or injuries can also cause eye redness, most often accompanied by pain, itching, discharge, or other symptoms. Note, among others:
- conjunctivitis: inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. Often accompanied by itching and discharge.
- blepharitis: inflammation of the eyelids
- corneal lesions or ulcers: caused by a viral or bacterial infection
- uveitis: inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented membrane that includes the choroid, ciliary body, and iris.
- A subconjunctival hemorrhage (after a shock, for example): it is a circumscribed blood-red spot
- Scleritis: inflammation of the episclera, the “white” of the eye
What are the consequences of red eyes?
The redness or irritation of the eye is often not serious, but it can indicate a potentially serious injury. If you notice a decrease in visual acuity, consult urgently.
Likewise, if the redness appears after an injury, if you see halos, or suffer from headaches and nausea, it is an emergency.
When the redness persists for more than a day or 2, whether accompanied by discomfort or pain, sensitivity to light, or purulent discharge, it is important to get an appointment. you pretty quick with the ophthalmologist.
What are the solutions for red eyes?
Since eye redness has a multitude of causes, the solution will depend on the diagnosis.
If it’s a trivial redness, related to fatigue, sun, or a little irritation, try resting your eyes, wearing sunglasses, and avoiding screens for a while. If soap, dust or other irritant is in the eye, it can be rinsed with plenty of water or with physiological liquid solution to reduce the irritation.
In other cases, the ophthalmologist may prescribe an appropriate treatment, such as artificial tears in case of dryness, antihistamine eye drops in case of allergy or antibiotic in case of infection, corticosteroids in case of inflammation, etc.
Read also :
Our fact sheet on conjunctivitis
What you need to know about glaucoma
Our sheet on colds
Our allergy sheet