Red eyes are a common and often benign occurrence, but they can sometimes indicate underlying health issues that require attention. While mild redness may resolve on its own, persistent or severe redness shouldn’t be ignored.
With over 20 years of experience, Nicanor Lacsina, O.D., and Yelena Pinkhasova, O.D., are experts in diagnosing and treating the root cause of red eyes in the Norwood neighborhood of Bronx, New York City.
Read on to learn more about the common causes of red eyes and ten signs it’s time to see a specialist here at Bainbridge Eye Care.
Common causes of red eyes
There are many reasons why your eyes may appear red. Before you can address the redness, the first step is to determine why your eyes are red. The most common culprits are:
- Conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage (a burst blood vessel on the surface of your eye)
- Eye allergies
- Environmental irritants like smoke, dust, air pollution, or even windy conditions
- Dry air
- Computer eye syndrome
- Lack of sleep
- Dry eye syndrome
- Contact lens issues, such as wearing contact lenses for an extended period, improper cleaning, or overuse
Not all cases of red eyes are signs of underlying medical problems. For example, if your red eyes are from a lack of sleep, the solution is simple: focus on your sleep hygiene and aim for an appropriate amount of sleep.
Ten reasons to see a specialist about your red eyes
While you can often manage eye redness with over-the-counter eye drops or simple home remedies, there are specific situations where you should consult an eye specialist:
1. Severe pain
If your red eyes accompany severe eye pain, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a corneal ulcer or angle-closure glaucoma, and you should get evaluated by Dr. Lacsina or Dr. Pinkhasova.
2. Changes in vision
Sudden changes in your vision, such as blurriness or double vision, combined with red eyes, always warrant immediate attention.
3. Persistent redness
If your red eyes don't improve or persist for an extended period, don’t brush it off. Chronic redness may be due to an underlying condition like chronic dry eye or a more severe eye disorder.
4. Light sensitivity
Red eyes accompanied by increased sensitivity to light could be a sign of uveitis, an inflammation of the eye's middle layer. In addition to red eyes and light sensitivity, uveitis may cause blurry vision, floaters, and eye pain. Prompt treatment is critical because uveitis can lead to vision loss if not treated properly.
5. Eye trauma
Any form of eye trauma, such as a foreign object entering the eye, requires immediate evaluation. Any scratch, even a small one, can cause eye redness and pain.
If your red eyes are associated with eye discharge that is thick, green, yellow, or pus-like, it could indicate an infection that requires specialized treatment or antibiotics. Eye discharge is often the tell-tale sign that your red eyes are a sign of pink eye.
7. Systemic symptoms
If red eyes accompany systemic symptoms like fever, headache, or sinus pain, it may suggest an underlying systemic condition.
8. Contact lens complications
Torn contact lenses or lenses with debris can contribute to scratches and redness. Red eyes related to contact lens use, especially if you experience pain, discomfort, or vision changes, should be discussed with an eye specialist at Bainbridge Eye Care to rule out any complications or infections.
9. Chronic health conditions
If you have underlying health conditions like diabetes or autoimmune disorders, any eye issues, including redness, should be addressed immediately.
10. Recurrent redness
If you frequently experience recurrent episodes of red eyes, there’s no need to accept it as your status quo. Dr. Lacsina and Dr. Pinkhasova can pinpoint the cause of your redness and treat the problem at the source.
Need help with red eyes? Give us a call!
Red eyes aren’t just an aesthetic concern. They can be a sign of an underlying issue that needs proper eye care. If you are struggling with red eyes, call us at 718-306-9127 or book an appointment online today.