Getting red eyes is a common problem that occurs because of the expansion or dilation of blood vessels on their surface.
Bloodshot eyes are a temporary condition and usually disappears on its own without any medical intervention.
In some cases, the condition may be accompanied by pain, discharge from the eyes, swelling, visual disturbances while in others redness may cause no disturbance at all.
Bloodshot also known as red eyes is used to describe red, bloodshot, irritated eyes.
However, the severity of redness differs, in some cases, they appear bright red and completely cover its surface while in others you can only see a few enlarged blood vessels across its white surface.
What causes bloodshot eyes?
1. Allergic reactions
Redness in many cases is a sign of an allergen reaction.
The immune system reacts to foreign substances in the body by fighting them off through the secretion of histamines notes all about vision.
the same protective mechanism applies to the eyes when the immune system detects substances like dust, chemicals found in cosmetic products, pollen or contact lenses solutions, protective mechanisms are triggered which causes the expansion and dilation of blood vessels causing them to become bloodshot and even teary.
2. Dry eyes
Dryness is a syndrome that is caused by an inadequate release of tears to effectively lubricate and nourish them.
Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to swelling, irritation and make them bloodshot. However according to all about vision, the syndrome is incurable, but there are treatment solutions to manage the condition such as the use of artificial tears.
Computer vision syndrome
Starring at the computer screen for long periods can strain your eyes, this is because you blink less which dries out its surface.
However, computer eye strain can be minimized by incorporating frequent breaks and getting prescription computer glasses, as well as lubricating them, drops to keep them moist and free from redness.
Any injury that causes trauma can lead to this problem in addition to subconjunctival hemorrhage as noted in all about vision.
In response to trauma, blood vessels dilate to increase the rate of blood flow to the injured area in order to hasten the healing process.
The severity of eye injuries can range from minor corneal abrasions to serious puncture wounds and chemical wounds. No matter the cause of the injury, it is vital to seek medical assistance immediately.
Whitening eye drops
Prolonged use of whitening eye drops leads to worsening of redness when the drops efface leading to rebound hyperemia.
Consumer red eyedrops consist of vasoconstrictors chemicals which cause blood vessels to contract and hence reduce redness.
However, regular use of consumer eyedrops for red eyes causes an individual to build resistance to the whitening effect which causes one to increase the usage for these drops in order to get the same results as before leading to the chronically red or bloodshot problem.
This is inflammation on the surface of the eyes as a result of common cold or flu, allergens such as pollen, irritation due to a foreign object or chemical.
There are two types of conjunctivitis; infectious meaning it can easily spread and affect both eyes and noninfectious, which is usually an allergic reaction.
Over-wearing contact lenses
Over-wearing your contact lenses or lack of proper hygienic care for your contact lenses can lead to the deposit of microbes and build-up of surface irritants.
Additionally, getting bloodshot eyes while wearing contacts can be a sign for a more serious underlying eye infection such as keratitis or a fungal infection notes all about vision.
However, you can reduce the risks this condition when caused by contact lenses by ensuring they are properly cleaned and disinfected as well as replacing based on your doctor’s instructions.
How to get rid of bloodshot eyes
Seek medical advice
The best way to deal with red eyes is by seeking professional help in order to get the best treatment advice based on the diagnosis.
In most cases, if this condition is caused by allergens, antihistamine eye drops are the best treatment. However, antihistamines are known to cause eye dryness hence should be used with artificial teardrops
In cases of an infection, the doctor will prescribe the proper antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that you don’t have any allergic reaction to bacteria-fighting eye drops as this may only exacerbate the problem.
Use cold compresses
Cold compresses will decrease the dilation of blood vessels thus reducing the severity of bloodshot eyes as well as soothe them.
The detection of foreign substances by the immune system causes the body to secrete histamines which lead to the dilation of blood vessels that cause the eyes to become dry. Applying a cold compress, therefore, reduces blood flow to the eyes as well as swelling.
You could either use cold water and a washcloth or ice/freeze pack. To prevent ice burn when using ice or absolutely cold freeze-pack, use a washcloth and hold it over them for3-5 minutes.
Reduce the temperature
A decrease in temperature leads to the constriction of blood vessels which leads to a significant decline in inflammation, irritation, and redness you may be having.
You can simply do this from the comfort of your own home by dipping four teaspoons into cold water and gently placing the concave side in alignment with your eyes. Keep altering the sets of the teaspoon for the next 20 minutes after they get warm from your body heat.
Rinse your eyes
According to the author of organic body care recipes Stephanie Tourles, rinsing them with a cup of distilled water and a tablespoon of eyebright, chamomile flowers or crushed fennel seeds. The mixture takes about 45 minutes to prepare and yields 1 cup.
All you need to do is boil the water and then add the herbs, leave the mixture to continue boiling for 30 minutes before straining into a sterilized container. When the solution is ready, splash into open eyes
Get enough sleep
Lack of adequate sleep is the most common cause of this condition. Adequate sleep nourishes your whole body, your eyes included.
Inadequate amount of sleep leads to dryness and irritation as well as eye twitching and the development of sleep bags.
Adjust the time spent looking at electronic screens
While working at a computer, tv screens or any other electronic device, the rate of blinking reduces by 10-folds. So, blinking is important as it ensures that our eyes are effectively lubricated. Therefore, prolonged use of electronic screens causes them to become dry and bloodshot.
However, there are several precautionary measures you can incorporate while working with an electronic screen:
- Consciously remember to blink constantly while staring at a screen.
- Decrease the brightness of your screen.
- Ensure the distance between your eyes and the screen is 20-40 inches.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent staring at the computer take a 20 seconds break to stare at something 20 feet away from where you are sitting.
Placing used refrigerated tea bags over your eyes will naturally decrease redness, swelling as well as irritation. This is because of the presence of tannins which are antimicrobial agents in the tea notes home remedy.
How to prevent this condition
- Be mindful of hygiene when wearing contact lenses. Contact lenses and their cases provide suitable conditions for the breeding of harmful bacteria. It’s very important to maintain proper hygiene for your contact lenses and their case as well as follow instructions concerning cleaning and the replacement of the contacts.
- Consult your doctor concerning any allergy medications in order to effectively treat allergies.
- Resist the urge to rub your eyes. Your hands and fingers may be covered by irritants which could increase the redness and irritation as well as lead to corneal abrasions.
- Take frequent breaks when working at a computer screen, incorporate the 20-20-20 rule which basically involves taking a 20-second break by focusing on a distant object 20 feet away after every 20 minutes spent gazing at a computer screen.
- Avoid overuse of whitening eyedrops to avoid exacerbating redness in future.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis and treat any severe sight-threatening infection.
- Consider a lifestyle change: avoid excessive intake of alcohol as it contributes to loss of nutrients vital for tears production as well as dehydration caused by the constant urination.
Additionally, smoking irritates them at times leading to unnecessary redness and increases the risk of several eye diseases such as uveitis, dry syndrome, cataracts among others.
Depending on the cause of this condition, the treatment procedures may vary, hence it is vital to contact your doctor in order to get accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Additionally, if this condition is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, sensitivity to light, swelling, visual disturbances such as blurry vision and eye discharge: seek immediate medical assistance for urgent treatment.