Have you recently looked at your reflection in the mirror and thought to yourself, “Why are my eyes red all the time?” Red eyes are a common vision problem. In fact, your eyes can be red for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with your lifestyle.
However, red eyes can be a hassle, even if they don’t affect how well you can see. People often assume that those with red eyes don’t sleep, are stressed out, or have been partying a little too hard. But don’t worry. The question, “Why are my eyes red all the time?” can be answered. While many eye problems associated with red eyes come with relatively easy fixes, some can require a trip to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Learn what may be causing your red eyes and when you should seek out a doctor at Eye Center of Texas to help you clear your red eyes.
What causes red eyes?
Red eyes are typically not a condition in and of themselves, but a symptom of another issue. In fact, the hardest part of treating red eyes is often finding out exactly what’s causing them. Here are the typical answers you’ll receive when you ask a doctor, “Why are my eyes red all of the time?”
Allergies are the primary cause of red eyes. The body reacts to an allergen—pollen, pet dander, mold, dust—by releasing histamines. Histamines increase the permeability of capillaries to let in more pathogen-fighting white blood cells, but they also cause swelling and inflammation. This swelling can cause the appearance of red veins in the eyes.
So, analyze your environment. Are there things that could be triggering an allergic reaction? And are your red eyes are accompanied by sneezing, itching, and/or a stuffy nose? If so, then allergies are almost definitely the culprit.
Maybe you just got a new pet, or perhaps pollen season has officially rolled in. Or maybe your living space is just a little bit overdue for a good cleaning. Either way, there is no need to call the ophthalmologist. Start with over the counter allergy meds, then visit an allergy specialist if your problems persist.
When your red eyes are caused by dryness, your eyes may burn, or you may feel a sensation similar to having sand or another irritant caught in your eyes. What’s happening behind the scenes, however, is that your eyes aren’t getting the proper amount of lubrication.
Each time you blink, your eye is coated in a tiny lubricating layer of liquid (made from the same stuff as tears). In today’s screen-heavy world, dry eye syndrome has become increasingly common, because we often blink less when we look at screens. In fact, some people are even turning to special computer glasses to help them deal with this issue. (For more info, check out our article What are Computer Glasses?)
Common dry eye can usually be treated effectively using over-the-counter eye drops. There are also apps that you can download which will remind you to look away from your screen. If your dry eye persists, however, your eyes may be experiencing issues producing tears, and it may be a good idea to visit your eye doctor.
If your eyes have been bright red/pink for a few days in addition to burning/itching and even occasional discharge, you may be experiencing pink eye, also known as Conjunctivitis. Keep on the lookout for signs of pink eye (especially if you have children) and make sure to see a doctor right away if you’re showing symptoms. Conjunctivitis is very contagious and can easily spread through contact, even with shared items like towels or sheets.
Burst blood vessels
If you have a sudden bloodshot eye or a bloodshot eye on one side with no associated pain, you may be dealing with a burst blood vessel. This isn’t quite as scary as it may sound. Blood vessels in your eye can burst from simple actions like sneezing, bending over, or lifting a heavy object.
Burst blood vessels should heal on their own within 1–2 weeks. However, if these symptoms are accompanied by any change in vision or pooling blood at the lower part of your iris, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.
Can stress cause red eyes?
Yes, stress can contribute to red eyes, although it typically does so indirectly. Your body often produces adrenaline in response to stress, which in turn can lead to tension and dry eyes. As discussed, both tension and dry eyes can contribute to your red eyes. If you’re feeling stressed and it’s showing in your eyes, make sure you’re staying hydrated and avoiding excessive caffeine or alcohol, as these substances may exacerbate your symptoms.
When red eyes should mean a trip to the doctor
If your eyes are always red, there is a chance that something else is wrong beyond just stress or allergies. If your red eyes are accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, it may be time to shut down the computer/stop browsing on your phone and call your ophthalmologist to set up an appointment.
- Persistent and/or frequent pain in your eyes
- Any change in vision
- New sensitivity to light
- Swelling around the eyelid
These symptoms could signal a problematic eye condition like Uveitis, which can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, or even blindness if left untreated. Prescription eye drops can usually clear Uveitis, but your eye doctor will still need to run tests for an accurate diagnosis.
In general, any sudden changes in vision—especially when accompanied by sensitivity or pain—should be accompanied by a trip to the eye doctor.
How can I clear my red eyes? Get answers at Eye Center of Texas
Sick and tired of everyone thinking you’re sick and tired because of your red eyes? Make this time the last time you have to ask yourself, “Why are my eyes red all the time.”
The experienced doctors at Eye Center of Texas can diagnose what is causing your red eyes and help you implement a solution that can help clear up your eyes. We are your solution for eye health and vision issues, from red eyes to LASIK to UV light eye damage.
Don’t let red eye irritation affect your life any longer. With six convenient locations in the Greater Houston Area, Eye Center of Texas makes it easy to fix your vision in comfort. Call Eye Center of Texas at 713-797-1010, or schedule an appointment online today.
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