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Red Eyes and Pink Eye

Red Eyes or "Bloodshot eyes" are long-standing and bothersome to many individuals.  They are very difficult to self-treat and do not readily whiten on their own.  There's a variety of causes to the red appearance of your eyeballs.  Learn how to get your white eyes back.

WHY ARE THE EYES RED!?

There are many reasons for why the eyes can appear angry.  The most common reasons are: Dryness, Infection, Allergies, Inflammation and Contact lens abuse.

INFECTION (bacterial or fungal)

When there is an infection in your eyes, the body sends its strongest fighters, its white blood cells to the area to elinimate the infection.  In order to do this, it dilates the blood vessels so more cells can fight the infection.  These dilated blood vessels become filled with large amounts of blood, and this provides the red bloodshot appearance of an infected eyeball.  Prescription antibiotics will be prescribed for your particular infection.

PINK EYE (viral)

Pink eye is a specific term used for an eye that has a viral infection.  These viral infections dont look as 'beet red' as a bacterial infection, therefore, as the eyeballs' vessels dilate and become larger, they appear PINK.  These infections are very contagious.  The individual should consider taking time off school/work so they do not infect others.  When the mucous resides from the use of antibiotic eyedrops prescribed by the optometrist, then the patient may return to regular activities. Do not share bath towels, clothes, or beds during this sort of infection.  See an Optometrist right away.

CONTACT LENS ABUSE/ OVER-WEAR  – Corneal Ulcers

Contact lenses are meant to be used responsibly.  A piece of plastic on the eye should not be taken lightly.  Infiltration and ulceration of the cornea can occur when bacteria  within the eye or the contact lens itself begin to divide and conquer.  If contact lenses are worn longer than they should, or if they are not cleaned properly and thoroughly, an aggressive infection can occur.  These infections cause heavy scarring of the cornea which can lead to permanent vision loss and even the loss of an eyeball.  During the ulcerative and infiltrative stages of the infection, the eyeball becomes engorged with large dilated blood vessels, giving it a deep red appearance.  In these cases, the contact lens wearer should discontinue contact lens wear immediately and see an optometrist as soon as possible.  This case can be very sight-threatening.

ALLERGIES

Seasonal allergies are known to cause a reaction throughout the body.  Itch is the biggest symptom.  Skin, ears, nose, throat, lungs can  all be affected in allergic reactions.  The eyelids specifically will become overwhelmingly itchy, especially at night and in the mornings. The eyes become red due to the allergic response to cottonwood, pollen, and other allergens.  An optometrist can prescribe a prescription allergy eyedrop to be used daily throughout the allergy months.  Eyes become clear, white, and itch-free.

DRYNESS

Age, gender, medications, contact lenses, dehydration, climate, and other environmental factors can cause dry eyes.  Excessive computer use or near work can also aggrevate dry eyes.  When an eye becomes dry, it starts an inflammatory process that causes your eyes to become red.  When the dryness is resolved with lubrication and moisture, the redness goes away.  A specific dry eye-regimen may be required to fight off severe dryness.  Dryness can get quite complicated when it comes to the eyes.  Many options can be presented by the eye doctor to resolve the dryness.

INFLAMMATORY DISEASE

If an individual has Arthritis, Colitis, Crohn's, Lupus, or some other form of inflammatory disease, the inflammation can spread to the eyes.  When the inflammation spreads to the eyes, there can be: sensitivity to bright lights, reduced vision, pain, and a red eye.  These patients require anti-inflammatory medicated eyedrops for multiple weeks for resolve the Red eye and inflammatory symptoms.

GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is when the pressures in your eyes become too high, and/or when your eye's nerve starts to deteriorate.  In a particular case of glaucoma, the drainage system of the eye becomes plugged, and the pressures quickly spike within hours.  As this occurs, the vision can become reduced, and the eyes become very red.  This instance requires immediate management to prevent further damage and blindness.  Tunnel vision is quite common with glaucoma.  See an optometrist to rule out glaucoma, especially if your eyes are red and vision is blurred.

INJURY (trauma)

Physical injury can cause blood vessels to break and leak.  Be very cautious and concerned if the injury is from a fingernail, or vegetative (plant based/branches) matter, as this can cause an aggressive fungal infection.  Fungal infections require daily monitoring and sometimes hospitalization as it can lead to widespread infection of the entire eye and destruction of the eye completely.  See an optometrist right away.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Lack of sleep causes the conjunctiva to dry out and become inflammed.  If you want to clear the eyes of their redness, get some 'shut-eye.'

DRUG USE 

Marijuana is a dilating substance.  It causes blood vessels to become dilated.  Enlarged blood vessels make your eyes look bloodshot.

IS VISINE SAFE TO USE LONGTERM?

When we get red bloodshot eyes, we look for a quick fix.  A quick and easy way to whiten the eyes is by using a constricting chemical such as VISINE.  Using visine once in a while may be okay if you have an emergency photo shoot or ceremony to attend.

Longterm use on the other hand can cause REBOUND REDNESS.  The eyes can get used to continual use of constricting agents, and become more red and dilated then before its original introduction.  Chronic use of VISINE worsens the symptoms over time.

DO NOT USE VISINE TO GET THE RED OUT!   If you eyes are red, they are red for a reason.  If the underlying foundational problem is fixed, then the redness will go away on its own.  An optometrist can diagnose the underlying cause to the redness, and easily treat the chronic red eye disorder.