Red eye in one or both eyes describes a condition that results from a variety of causes, most of which are harmless. The condition results from the swelling or irritation of blood vessels in the eye, leaving the white of the eye looking pink or red. Sometimes it’s referred to as bloodshot eyes or simply red eyes.
Regardless of the many causes of red eye, Dr. Rob Christensen, an optometrist in Dodge City, KS, can diagnose and treat the condition. Consider scheduling an appointment if the redness doesn’t clear up by itself or if it is accompanied by other symptoms that might indicate a more serious condition.
Causes of Red Eye
There are numerous causes of red eye, and most are minor. These include:
- The after-effect of excessive alcohol consumption
- Allergic reaction
- Marijuana use
- Dust or grit in the eye
- Exposure to chlorine
- Irritation from contact lenses
Other eye disorders, including conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and dry eye can also result in this reddening of the whites of the eyes.
When to Seek Care
Most causes of red eye aren’t serious and will typically clear up on their own after a few days or with the application of antihistamine eye drops.
However, red eye can also be the symptom of more serious conditions including acute glaucoma, an infection, or physical injury to the eye. These disorders need to be diagnosed and treated immediately to avoid lasting damage to the eye.
You should immediately schedule an appointment with an optometrist if the redness lasts for longer than a week or if it’s accompanied by the following:
- A fever or other signs of sudden illness
- Pain, persistent discomfort or tenderness in the affected eye
- A mucous-like discharge from the eye
Treatments for Red Eye
In addition to over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops, there are many simple home remedies for red eye, depending on the cause. For instance, simply getting more sleep should alleviate the condition caused by fatigue. Wearing goggles while swimming can offer protection. A reduction in alcohol or marijuana consumption should clear up red eye due to those causes.
If the problem persists for a week, see an optometrist. The first thing your eye doctor will do is diagnose the condition and make sure the redness isn’t a sign of a more serious condition, such as acute glaucoma or physical injury.
If the condition is caused by a persistent allergy and it can’t be cleared up by common antihistamine eye drops found in any supermarket or drug store, your optometrist might recommend an over-the-counter eye drop that also contains a steroid.
Call for an Appointment
Whatever the cause of your persistent or painful red eye, your optometrist can treat it. Simply make an appointment with Dr. Christensen at Christensen Eyecare in Dodge City, KS. He’ll diagnose your condition and prescribe a course of treatment if time alone won’t clear up the condition.