How to soothe red eyes

Having irritated eyes is never pleasant. Read on to find out more about potential causes of this condition and ways to get rid of red eyes.

Why do my eyes turn red?

Red eyes may be caused by dilated or ruptured blood vessels. They can also be caused by a variety of other factors.

1. Slightly irritated eyes

Red eyes can be a sign of a slight irritation caused by:

  • A foreign body: your eyes have come into contact with an irritating product such as soap, sand, or dust
  • Eyestrain caused by excessive screen time
  • Contact lenses

Fortunately, it’s easy to treat this kind of irritation. You can often get rid of red eyes by:

  • Resting your eyes. Keep the 20-20-20 rule in mind: after staring at a screen for 20 minutes, look outside or at something that’s about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a break and reset your blinking reflex which is diminished when you stare at screens.
  • Use a cold compress on your eyes to relieve and reduce any swelling. Ideally the compress should be dry. You can simply put ice cubes in a sealable bag and cover with a dry washcloth or even purchase a freezable cooling eye mask designed to soothe red eyes.
  • If your contact lenses are causing the problem, it might be time to remove them. Wear your glasses until your eyes are no longer red and remember to lubricate your eyes. If your eyes always turn red when you wear contact lenses, you should see your optometrist as soon as possible.

2. An allergy

If your eyes turn red during hay fever season (usually spring and summer), your eyes might be reacting to allergen particles in the air.

In Quebec, allergy season stretches from March to September. Common allergies include tree pollen, grass, and weeds.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you can get allergy and anti-inflammatory eye drops. But make sure you speak with your optometrist for information about how to properly use these kinds of drops.

Furthermore, you can now get medicated contact lenses that are specifically designed to reduce allergy symptoms. This is good news because according to a study of 3,500 Canadians, one-third of adults with contact lenses suffer from seasonal allergies.

The only lenses on the market that are currently available are ACUVUETM THERAVISIONTM with Ketotifen. They are a medication-releasing disposable contact lens indicated to manage ocular itch caused by allergies. They’re a simple and quick way to relieve your eyes and can be worn for 12 hours.

To find out if this product is available and right for you, contact the team at your Opto-Réseau clinic.

3. Eye disease

If your symptoms persist for more than 3 days, we strongly urge you to speak with your optometrist. They’ll be able to diagnose your condition because keep in mind that red eyes can be caused by a serious eye disease.

  • Conjunctivitis: an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva – the membrane that lines the white part of your eye and the inside of your eyelids.
  • Corneal ulcers or lesions: caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
  • Glaucoma: caused by high pressure on the optic nerve. This condition may lead to vision loss.
  • Dry eye syndrome: a chronic condition often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

Once your Opto-Réseau eyecare professional has diagnosed the problem, they’ll be able to prescribe the right products or treatment.

For instance, if you have conjunctivitis, your professional will recommend changes to your ocular hygiene routine, drops, or ointments depending on the type of conjunctivitis.

The same goes for dry eyes. Solutions include special drops, ointments, or cleansing gels formulated to treat dry eyes, such as those produced by I-Med Pharma. Your eyecare professional might also prescribe a cutting-edge treatment such as IPL, LipiFlow, microblepharoexfoliation, etc.

For more information about eye conditions or for questions about red eyes, contact an Opto-Réseau clinic near you.