"Red eye," or conjunctivitis, is a term that’s often used to describe red, irritated, and bloodshot eyes. The presence of a red eye varies in severity from a bright red which completely covers the sclera, to a few enlarged blood vessels that appear as wiggly red or pink lines across the "white" of the eye. Eye pain can accompany red eyes, along with itching, eye discharge, swelling or visual disturbances such as blurry vision. In other cases, a red eye may cause no irritation at all. Bloodshot eyes can develop over time or appear suddenly, particularly in response to allergies or an eye injury.
Red eyes usually are caused by an allergy, fatigue, dryness, overuse of contact lenses, or eye infection. However, redness of the eye sometimes can signal a more serious eye condition or disease, like uveitis or glaucoma.
The most common causes of red eye include:
Don’t rub your eyes — irritants on your hands and fingers can cause even more redness and irritation.
Keeping your contacts fresh and clean - Contact lenses can develop bacterial growth if not cleaned and replaced regularly.
Take a break from looking at the computer screen. Blink rates significantly decrease when looking at objects at near. Taking frequent breaks can prevent dryness and irritation.
Schedule an eye exam to rule out a more sinister cause of red eyes such as Dry Eye Syndrome or an infection.
Don't overuse "whitening" eye drops
Treatment for red eyes will vary depending on what is causing it. Remedies for red eyes can include rest, cool compresses, and over-the-counter eye drops. More aggressive treatments will include antibiotics, topical steroids, or even surgery.
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