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What Causes Red Eyes? Common Causes and Treatments

Jun 1, 2023 | Eye Health Info

Red eyes can occur for a variety of reasons, and some are more serious than others. Whether it’s allergies, an infection, or something else, it’s important to understand what’s causing your red eyes so you can get the right treatment. In this blog post, we will discuss the common causes and treatments for red eyes. 

Common causes of red eyes 

1. Allergies 

One of the most common causes of red eyes is allergies. Your eyes may be sensitive to pollen, pet dander, or other environmental irritants. When your eyes come into contact with an allergen, your body releases histamines, causing your eyes to become red, itchy, and swollen. To treat and prevent red eyes due to allergies, it’s best to avoid the allergen that triggers your symptoms. Over-the-counter antihistamine drops and artificial tears can also help. 

2. Dry eyes 

Redness and irritation of the eyes can also be caused by dry eye. When your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, the result can be dry, irritated, and red eyes. To treat dry eyes, make sure to use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears frequently throughout the day. Additionally, humidifiers, blinking frequently, and avoiding dry environments may also help to alleviate dry eyes. 

3. Infection 

Red eyes can also be a sign of infection, like pink eye or conjunctivitis. If you notice redness along with discharge, itching, or pain, then you might have an infection that needs to be treated by a doctor. Depending on the type of infection you have, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Pink eye is highly contagious, so it is important to seek treatment and avoid passing it on to others. 

4. Eye strain  

If you spend long hours looking at screens or engaging in other visually demanding activities, you may be experiencing eye strain. Eye strain can cause redness, dryness, and fatigue in your eyes. To reduce your risk of eye strain, take regular breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes, adjust your screen brightness and position, and make sure you’re sitting in a well-lit area.  

One of the best ways to prevent eye strain is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. That is, for every 20 minutes you spend at a computer, you should take a 20-second break to focus on an object at least 20 feet away. 

5. Inflammation 

Red eyes can be caused by inflammation of the eyelids, known as blepharitis, which results in swollen and itchy eyes. This condition can also cause dandruff-like flakes around the eyelids, which can irritate the eyes. To prevent inflammation, it is important to keep your eyelids clean by washing them with a warm, damp cloth. You can also apply warm compresses regularly to alleviate pain and inflammation. 

Red eyes can be a pain to deal with, but understanding the cause can help you to take the necessary steps to relieve symptoms, prevent further irritation, and avoid complications. Most cases of red eyes can be treated with eye drops or home remedies like a warm compress, but in some cases, you may need to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.  

If you have red eyes and home remedies are not helping, or you have pain and discharge, contact us to schedule an appointment in Murfreesboro.