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Overview

Red-eye refers to red or bloodshot eyes. Small blood vessels beneath the surface of the eye enlarge or become irritated, increasing blood flow, resulting in redness. It is usually a response to anything irritating the eyelids and eyelashes. Redness around the eyes occurs when the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the eye enlarge and get blocked with blood. The condition may affect one or both eyes, and it might appear gradually or abruptly, as with allergies or an eye injury.

Red eyes may be accompanied by other symptoms such as eye irritation, itching, discharge from the eyes, swelling of the eyes, or changes in vision such as impaired vision. Many causes of a red eye are rather harmless and may be treated at home or with over-the-counter medications.

Red eyes may be caused by a variety of factors. Red eyes are one of these symptoms, which might signal minor irritation or a more severe illness like an infection.

The red eyes are usually not a cause for alarm. However, if you have any more eye discomfort, watering, dryness, or impaired vision, this might be a sign of a more severe medical condition.

If your eyes have been red for more than a week, your vision has been impacted, or you are experiencing discomfort, you should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for a medical diagnosis and treatment.

Red eyes may be treated in a variety of ways. Rest, cold compresses over closed eyes, gentle massage of the eyelids, gentle cleansing of the eyelids, and over-the-counter eye drops may all help to relieve symptoms. Antibiotics, special eye drops, or ointments may be recommended and prescribed by an eye doctor in certain cases.

Causes

Some of the common causes of red eye are discussed below:

Conjunctivitis:Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an infection of the conjunctiva that causes swelling and pain in the eyes. Conjunctiva, a thin, translucent membrane that loops back to cover the white portion of the eye, coats the inner surface of an eyelid. The blood vessels in the conjunctiva become irritated and enlarge as a result of infection. The whites of the eyes become crimson or pink as a result of the inflammation.

The most typical way for the infection to spread is via direct contact with infected fingers or personal possessions. The infection is often linked to upper respiratory diseases and is spread between people by coughing. Pink eye often affects both eyes because the infection spreads from one eye to the other.

Allergic conjunctivitis:

An irritant or allergen, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander, may induce allergic conjunctivitis causing a painful red eye. Certain individuals may have an allergic reaction to contact lenses and its solution. Furthermore, if contact lenses are used for a lengthy period of time, irritation might result in conjunctivitis. This type of conjunctivitis which is caused by allergy or irritation is not contagious.

Sub conjunctival hemorrhage: A rich network of blood veins and capillaries runs through the conjunctiva. Blood may flow into the region between the conjunctiva and the white of the eye if these blood vessels break, rendering it red. A little quantity of blood forms behind the conjunctiva as a result of this condition. Vivid red dots emerge on the white of the eye due to a minor hemorrhage beneath the outer membrane.

A slight eye injury or trauma, such as rubbing the eye due to allergies, may cause the hemorrhage. They have no effect on vision since they have no effect on the cornea or the eye’s internal tissues.

They are usually not painful, and the only apparent signs and symptoms are red dots on the white. While redness or blood in the eye may look alarming, the majority of these hemorrhages are completely innocuous and will resolve on their own in a matter of days if left untreated.

Corneal ulcer: An open sore on the cornea triggered by bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites is known as a corneal ulcer. Scratches, burns, dry eye syndrome, and eyelid issues all enhance the likelihood of contracting this illness. The corner of the eye becomes red as a result of soreness.  Contact lenses may scratch the surface of the eye, causing minor damage to the outer cells. Pathogens may be able to enter the eye as a result of this injury. Red sclera may result due to such incidents.

Dry eye syndrome: It is another cause of red-eye. When the eyes do not generate enough tears to adequately lubricate and nourish the eyes, dry eye syndrome may develop. Hormonal changes, certain medical problems, and certain drugs may all cause this syndrome. Chronic dry eye is a condition in which the surface of the eye reddens, inflames, and irritates.Red under eyes may also be a common occurrence in this case.

Other medical conditions that are associated with red-eye are:

·         Glaucoma

·         Cellulitis

·         Eye lymphoma

·         Toxoplasmosis

·         Uveitis

When to see a doctor

Consult a physician if red eye symptoms persist for more than one week. You need to immediately see your doctor in case of changes in vision, pain in the eye, increased sensitivity to light, or discharge from one or both of the eyes.

While the majority of causes of eye redness are not life-threatening, you should seek medical assistance immediately if you encounter any of the following:

·         Trauma or injury

·         Headache

·         Blurred vision