Each of us experiences red eyes every now and then. It is a common thing, but it is not normal. Red eyes do not happen by accident and have a number of different causes, which we can avoid at the same time. Here are 10 causes of red eyes to be aware of and prevent the problem as much as we can.
- Your eyes are dry. This occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce sufficient quantity of tears to properly lubricate your eyes. As a result, the eyes become irritated and inflamed, which causes redness, burning, stinging and a sand-gritty sensation.
Dry eyes are more common in people over 50, but can also be seen in younger people who spend much time staring at computer screens. We don’t blink as much when looking at a computer screen for too long and this causes dryness.
The problem can be also caused by a dry climate. Artificial tears help moisture your eyes, reduce inflammation and irritation, and ease redness. Blinking more often when working at your computer will help to keep the issue from coming back.
- You are allergic. When reacting to a foreign substance, the immune system releases histamine to fight off the culprit allergens. This histamine causes blood vessels in the eye to enlarge, making eyes red and watery.
Since allergies make your eyes itchy, you end up rubbing them producing even more redness and inflammation.
You can ease redness by applying cold compresses to the eyes several times a day. Also talk to your doctor to track down and avoid allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, dust, fur or certain chemicals and to prescribe you medications to keep seasonal allergy at bay.
- You don’t get enough sleep. If you sleep less than 8 hours every night, your eyes cannot ‘recharge’. They look dark, sagging and bloodshot, and feel strained. When we rub them in an attempt to wake up, we only exacerbate the issue. The obvious solution to red eyes caused by a lack of sleep is to get more sleep.
- You drank too much. Alcohol makes blood vessels relax, allowing more blood to flow through the eye vessels and making them look redder. In order to get rid of redness, you can try eye whitening drops which constrict blood vessels.
- You smoke. Cigarette smoke is a toxic eye irritant that causes blood vessels constriction, resulting in red, dry and itchy eyes. Smoking can also lead to macular degeneration and cataracts. Although smokers may adjust to the smoke over time, the second-hand smokers remain still affected.
Smoking cessation is the best solution. If you can’t quit, seek fresh air. That will clear your eyes in about an hour.
- You’ve got an infection. If your eyes are pink, you’ve probably got conjunctivitis. It is a contagious eye condition, where the conjunctiva of the eye becomes infected. The infection makes the blood vessels within the conjunctiva irritated and swollen, giving the eyes pink appearance.
Treatment depends on the kind of bacteria that caused the condition and should be prescribed by the doctor.
- You popped a blood vessel. This can happen when coughing intensely or otherwise straining, when sleeping in a weird position or after a trauma. When an eye blood vessel bursts, the blood gets trapped under the surface of the eye, causing a bright red splotch.
A popped blood vessel is nothing serious and should go away on its own within a week.
- You’ve been sleeping with your make up on. Even if you used your makeup remover but there were left traces of mascara on your lashes, the mascara can slide into the eye area while you are sleeping and cause irritation and redness. Therefore thoroughly remove your make up before going to bed and never fall asleep with your makeup on.