How To Get Rid Of Red Eyes – Top 5 Causes

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Have you ever had a red eye? Well, today I'm going to talk about how to get rid of red eyes. I'll discuss five causes of a red eye, including corneal abrasions. I'll talk about the causes, the symptoms, and the treatment.

5 Causes Of Red Eyes

Corneal Abrasion Symptoms


1. Corneal Abrasions

A corneal abrasion occurs when you get a scratch in that cornea, which is the clear part of your eye that covers the colored part of your eye. Anything that can scratch your eye. Fingernails, animal paws, an eyelash getting stuck under your eye, branches from a tree, anything that scratches that cornea can cause a corneal abrasion.


Corneal Abrasion Symptoms

An obvious symptom of a corneal abrasion is red-eye. Also, you can have pain, pain that's so bad that you hardly want to open the eye. It can really be something that keeps you from wanting to go to work or from being able to study or read. Also, you can get photophobia, meaning that light, especially bright sunlight, can cause extreme pain.


Another symptom of a corneal abrasion is having the sensation that something is inside of your eye like sand, something that you just can't get out of the eye. You can even get blurry vision with corneal abrasions or very watery or teary-eyes.


How To Treat A Scratched Eye

How do you treat a corneal abrasion or scratched eye? Well, you must go to your eye doctor, you must see the ophthalmologist and they will do a thorough examination. They may even put drops that dye the eye so they can really see whether or not you have a corneal abrasion or a scratch. And then, they may give you ointments or drops for the eye to help to prevent infection from setting in. They can also give you certain pain medicines, your doctor may even put gauze or a patch over the eye to allow you to keep it closed.


How To Prevent A Corneal Abrasion

To prevent corneal abrasions, well, life happens, sometimes you just can't prevent them, but if you're in an environment where you are at high risk for getting things in your eye that could scratch them, things like wearing safety goggles will help. Also making sure that if you are a contact lens wearer that your contact lenses fit properly and are not ill-fitting and scratching your cornea. So one cause of a red eye, corneal abrasion.

2. Cause Of A Red Eyes: Dryness

Dry eyes are very, very common, and they can cause red eyes. They can also cause itching eyes and a sensation that there's something in the eye like sand.


How to get rid of red eyes caused by dry eyes?

Well, certainly you can use artificial tears, which you can get over the counter, but it is important to find out if there is an underlying cause of the dry eye. One illness that can cause dry eyes is called Sjogren's Syndrome. It can cause multiple systemic symptoms, but oftentimes, a dry eye can be a presenting symptom of the larger disease. So make sure that you see your primary care physician and you see your ophthalmologist, as well, to find out why you're having the dry eyes and the best way to treat your dry eyes.


How To Get Rid Of Red Eyes

3. Another Cause Of A Red Eyes: Glaucoma

Acute angle-closure glaucoma. If a person has this, they don't look happy. They're typically slumped over holding that eye and they'll complain of a headache, a severe headache, usually in the temporal area or in the front part of the brain on that side. And yes, the eye can become red.


This glaucoma is caused by an increase in intraocular pressure or high pressure inside of the eyeball. How to get rid of red eyes caused by glaucoma? If you have this red-eye and these symptoms, it is urgent, you must see your eye doctor that day, and if it's after hours, you need to go to the emergency department. Now, there are treatments, but of course, glaucoma, if left untreated, can cause blindness.  The treatments include certain drops that are medicated to help decrease the pressure in the eye.

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4. Hyphema, A Traumatic Hyphema

What in the world is that? Well, it's a collection of red blood cells in the interior chamber of the eye. It's blood that collects in the very front of your eye, and it's usually caused by trauma.


Some common causes of a hyphema would be if children are playing and one child gets hit dead in the eyeball with a baseball, that can cause a traumatic hyphema. Or if you're teenagers and you're having a paintball fight and the paintball, boom, goes right in the eye, that can cause a traumatic hyphema. Also being assaulted. If you get punched in your eye, that trauma can cause a hyphema.  A hyphema can definitely affect the vision, so it is an emergency and you must be evaluated by a physician, an ophthalmologist, the same day if you see blood in the very front of your eye.

5. Conjunctivitis, Also Known As Pink Eye


So what is conjunctivitis? It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, and the conjunctiva refers to that thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and it also covers the white part of the eye, or the sclera. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, we call it conjunctivitis. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies.


How To Get Rid Of Red Eye Caused By Conjunctivitis

When you have viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, it's very contagious, so number one, you need to stay home, stay away from other people. You should wash your hands frequently and not rub your eye, don't put your hands in your eyes.


You definitely need to be evaluated by either your primary care physician or an eye healthcare provider to get the proper diagnosis of conjunctivitis, and you need to be treated. If it is bacterial conjunctivitis, the treatment will be antibiotic drops or an antibiotic ointment. And you should stay away from home and stay away from work until you have had at least 24 hours of treatment.


This concludes my overview of how to get rid of red eyes - corneal abrasion symptoms, causes, and treatment If you have a red eye, please don't try to diagnose yourself. Make sure you go in to see your physician. Go in to see your ophthalmologist. A red eye can be as simple as a little bit of a dry eye situation or the dry eyes can represent a systemic rheumatologic illness.  Red eyes can also represent an illness that can cause a permanent change in vision. Red eyes can represent an infection. So remember, prioritize yourself and take care of you.

Dr. Frita - Frita McRae Fisher, M.D.
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