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A Simple Approach to Cure Red Eyes

Published on Jun 11, 2018 and last reviewed on Mar 10, 2022   -  5 min read


This article sheds light on the most serious and most commonly seen causes of red eyes with a list of over-the-counter medications that may help you find a cure.

A Simple Approach to Cure Red Eyes


Red eyes, which is a condition that can occur in one or both eyes, is the cardinal sign of ocular inflammation. They are a prevalent problem seen in ophthalmology day in and out. The causes of this common symptom are several, and management protocols vary depending on the doctor. The management of red eye always presents a challenge to even the most experienced ophthalmologist due to the sheer number of reasons and associated overlapping causative factors.

What Are the Symptoms of Red Eyes?

The most important symptoms to watch for are:

What Are the Common Causes of Red Eyes, and How to Treat Them?

Given below are a few common causes of red eyes listed as per the "Sticky-Itchy-Dry" algorithm:

1. Viral Conjunctivitis:

The treatments usually prescribed are:

  1. Lubricant Eye Drops (over-the-counter) - Carboxymethylcellulose acetate 0.5 and 1 %, Carmellose 0.5 %, Hypromellose 0.5 %, Polyethylene glycol, and Propylene glycol.

  2. Antibiotics - Moxifloxacin eye drops 0.5 %, and Tobramycin eye drops 0.3 %, antibiotics are also available in the ointment form for longer action.

2. Allergic Conjunctivitis:

A few of the commonly prescribed treatment modalities for allergic conjunctivitis are:

  1. Antihistamines and Decongestants - Olopatadine 0.1 %/0.2 %, Naphazoline, Epinastine, and Chlorpheniramine maleate.

  2. Lubricant Eye Drops - Lubricant eye drops (over-the-counter) - Carboxymethylcellulose acetate 0.5 and 1 %, Carmellose 0.5 %, Hypromellose 0.5 %, Polyethylene glycol and Propylene glycol.

  3. Steroids - Loteprednol 0.5 %, Difluprednate, Dexamethasone, and Prednisolone.

  4. Immune Modulators - Cyclosporine.

  5. NSAIDS - Flurbiprofen, Nepafenac, and Bromfenac.

3. Dry Eyes:

Treatment Options:

  1. Lubricant Eye Drops (over the counter) - Carboxymethylcellulose acetate 0.5 and 1 %, Carmellose 0.5 %, Hypromellose 0.5 %, Polyethylene glycol and Propylene glycol.

  2. Blinking more frequently.

4. Acute Congestive Glaucoma:

5. Acute Anterior Uveitis:

6. Subconjunctival and Periorbital Hemorrhage:

These are blood clots around the eyeball. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a benign condition and will disappear if left on its own. The problem is that, to the untrained eye, it looks similar to periorbital hemorrhage, which is a vision-threatening disorder.

Hence, even these two disorders are best sorted out by consulting the doctor. As an immediate measure, ice cubes may be applied over the closed eyelids. Doing this helps the blood clot dissolve faster.

How to Prevent Red Eyes?

Some precautionary measures can prevent the condition from getting worse if you are having red eyes and irritation.

If you feel that your red eyes are due to a serious condition or if they are persistent, consult your doctor and make an appointment. They may examine your eyes and prescribe medication that may relieve your symptoms.

Take-Home Points:

The causes of a red eye are numerous, each with its own characteristic symptoms "Sticky-Itchy-Dry." You must consult a doctor if you cannot see, have severe pain, or have symptoms that are getting worse.


Frequently Asked Questions


How Can I Get Rid of My Red Eyes?

If you are affected by red eyes, you can use the following methods to get rid of it.
- Usage of cold compresses.
- Soaking a cloth in ice water and gently massaging it with closed eyes.
- Try warm compresses also.
- Stay away from irritants that trigger your red-eyes such as smoke, pet hair, dust, chlorine, or pollen.


What Are the Causes of Red Eyes?

The following are the various causes of red eyes:
- Allergy.
- Eye fatigue.
- Over-wearing of contact lenses.
- Common eye infections, such as conjunctivitis.
- Underlying serious eye conditions or systemic diseases, such as uveitis or glaucoma.


What Diseases Can Lead To Red Eyes?

The following are a list of severe eye conditions that can lead to the incidence of red eyes:
- Eye infections.
- Eye trauma or injury.
- Recent eye surgery.
- Uveitis.
- Acute glaucoma.
- Corneal ulcer.


When Should I Consult a Doctor for Red Eye?

Seek emergency medical care when your red eye is accompanied by other symptoms such as the sudden onset of vision changes, severe headache, eye pain, fever, or abnormal sensitivity to light, nausea, or vomiting. This is because all these symptoms could be due to severe underlying conditions that could be fatal if the treatment is delayed or left untreated.


What Can Help to Relieve Red Eyes Naturally?

The following are the list of various methods that can be used to treat red eyes naturally:
- Rinsing the affected eyes gently with cold and clean water.
- A warm compress over the eyelids to help in relieving bloodshot eyes.
- Cold compress.
- Rosewater.
- Tea bags compress.
- Aloe Vera.
- Cucumber.
- Blink more than normal.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.


Can the Overuse of Phones Cause Red Eyes?

Yes, the overuse of phones can lead to the development of red eyes. When a person is staring at a smartphone or tablet for a longer period of time, it can cause tired, itchy, dry eyes. It can even lead to blurred vision and headaches.


Is Red Eye a Serious Condition?

The redness of the eye is also known as bloodshot eyes. This condition can indicate the presence of several different health problems ranging from dangerous to mild in severity. When some of these problems are benign, they do not require immediate medical treatment and can be treated with home remedies, but serious conditions require emergency medical attention. This is because it could be due to serious life-threatening conditions.


How Long Can Red Eye Last?

When red eyes are due to benign conditions, it generally lasts only for two weeks. Conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis are usually noted to benefit from cool compresses and the application of cool artificial tears. You should also use cool allergy eye drops. But when your red-eye does not resolve within two weeks, consult your doctor immediately to avoid unnecessary complications.


Can Stress Lead to Red Eyes?

Yes, stress can lead to red eyes. Both the physical stresses of a person’s eye and mental stress can cause this condition directly and indirectly because stress can lead to a lack of sleep, making the eyes tired and causing red eyes in the long term.


Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Red Eyes?

Yes, sleep deprivation can lead to the development of red eyes. Lack of sleep can cause dry, itchy, and bloodshot eyes. Dry eyes can be very painful and may cause irritation, but this can also suggest that a person’s eyes are not provided with the adequate quantity of lubrication needed by them in order to stay healthy. A sleep-deprived person might also note that his or her eyes are sensitive to light and blurring of vision.


Does Hypertension Cause Red Eyes?

Yes, a rise in blood pressure can cause red eyes because high blood pressure can lead to blood vessels’ damage that supplies blood to the retina, which is the light-sensitive region of the human eye. This condition Is known as hypertensive retinopathy. It is always important not to avoid chronic red eyes.


Does Consumption of Water Help Red Eyes?

Yes, drinking water can help in treating red eyes. Dehydration can cause red eyes. If so, drinking plenty of water will help in flushing out salt in the body and properly hydrating the affected person’s eyes to help reduce eye strain.


Does the Application of Eye Drop Help With Red Eyes?

Yes, the application of eye drops can help with red eyes. It is good to treat minor irritation, exhaustion, or occasional redness with eye drops as a measure of temporary eye relief only. But it is important for people to note that anti-redness drops will not treat underlying health conditions that are causing red eyes in them. So, it is always important to provide proper medical attention to red eyes.


Can Dehydration Lead to Red Eyes?

Yes, dehydration can lead to the occurrence of red eyes. When the person is dehydrated for a long time, he or she might experience a dry mouth, severe thirst, and dry skin and over time, it can even lead to higher blood pressure. Thus, red-eye is a symptom of dehydration and can lead to other conditions such as eye pain, vision distortion, dry eyes, etc.


Why Do Eyes Get Red After Sleeping?

Our eyes may reduce the production of tears while sleeping. This is the reason why our eyes get red after sleeping. The primary function of tears is lubrication. This is the major cause of dryness and redness of the eyes upon waking. These symptoms can be more pronounced in people with dry eye syndrome.


Can Tiredness Lead to Red Eyes?

Yes, usually the first and foremost indication of a "bloodshot" eye is tiredness. While extreme tiredness can make the blood vessels in the eyes increase in size. This change in the eyes’ standard structure and function can make them more exposed to many potential hazards that can lead to inflammation.


What Are the Various Home Remedies for Red Eyes?

The following are the various home remedies for red eyes:
- Regular placement of a cool compress over the eyes.
- Avoidance of eye makeup, or choosing hypoallergenic eye make up as an alternative.
- Usage of artificial tears, which are available in online shopping sites or over-the-counter or local pharmacies.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
10 Mar 2022  -  5 min read




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