As one of the best Toronto optometrists, we’ve seen our fair share of red eyes and we think you’ll probably agree when we say:
No one likes to have red eyes.
Whether caused by fatigue from an overnight flight, allergies, or captured in a photo due to a camera’s improper exposure, if we have red eye, we want to get rid of it!
When the whites of our eyes are red or bloodshot, we don’t look or feel our best.
Red eye is caused by dilated blood vessels on the surface of the eye. If enough blood vessels are present, bringing extra blood into the eye, it can give the entire surface of the eyes a pinkish or reddish cast.
These blood vessels can appear for a number of reasons:
- Infections, like pinkeye
- Pressure building up inside the eye, such as that caused by sudden glaucoma
If you suffer from red eyes and are tired of others guessing at the reason, read on to find out more about red eyes and how to defeat them.
Symptoms of Red Eyes
When your eyes are red, that’s probably not the only symptom.
Most people also feel itchiness in their eyes or the feeling that there is something ‘in there’ even when a thorough mirror search reveals nothing. It may feel like rubbing your eyes is imperative to relieve the itching, stinging sensation.
Other symptoms that tend to go with red eyes include:
- Tearing up
- Pain and soreness
- Sensitivity to light
- Symptoms elsewhere in the body, like cold and flu symptoms, nausea or vomiting
It’s important not to think of the degree of redness as being indicative of how serious the problem is.
Usually, red eyes do not indicate a serious problem and the redness should go away on its own. But whether your eyes are completely bloodshot or not, the two indicators you should not ignore are accompanying eye pain and vision problems.
If your eyes actually hurt (as opposed to being itchy or feeling dry) and if your vision is actually impaired at any point, that is when you should take red eyes very seriously and seek medical attention.
Common Causes of Red Eyes
Eye redness is no fun, but as mentioned, it is often nothing more serious than common pinkeye – clinically known as infectious conjunctivitis – or an allergic reaction that has caused inflammation.
Thinking of the moments prior to your eye redness…
Did you touch an animal, plant, flower or fibrous material, and then touch your eyes?
Have you been exposed to dust through cleaning, or pollen from newly budding trees?
If you have come into contact with these things or any other known allergens, try taking an antihistamine and resting your eyes for 30 minutes.
Eye pain can also indicate a foreign body in the eye or a corneal scratch. Rubbing the eyes vigorously can make these conditions worse and even cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Red eyes can, in rare cases, also indicate more serious types of infections or corneal ulcers.
If you are experiencing pain rather than simple irritation, and/or other symptoms like seeing halos, experiencing nausea or vomiting, or a rash over and above just having red eyes, please visit our optometrist clinic in Toronto right away for an advanced diagnostic test that will get to the bottom of what’s causing your red eye.
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