Red eyes indicate congestion or inflammation of the eyes. You can get rid of congestion easily at home, however, if your eyes are inflamed, you may need to see your doctor. Here are some home remedies as to how one can get rid of red eyes.
Before you try home remedies for your red eyes, first answer these questions:
- Do you have a fever with red eyes?
- Do you have an injury to your eyes?
- Have you noticed blurring or reduced vision?
- have you noticed any discharge from your eyes?
- Do you have pain and photophobia (can not tolerate light)
- Do you have a headache with red eyes?
- Are you on blood thinners or have a blood clotting disorder?
- Do you have hypertension?
If any of your answers to the above questions is “YES”, you should see your doctor or go to the emergency, especially if you are on blood thinners.
If all of your answers are “No”, you can sit down and relax and read the article 😊.
Red eye is not a disease. It is a typical term that is used when the eyes become red on pink. It is usually because of the dilation of small blood vessels in the eyes. Dilation of the small blood vessels can be due to an irritant, or allergen or it can be due to inflammation.
Red eye can manifest all of a sudden, after you get up from sleep, or it can occur intermittently. Intermittent red eyes are usually due to an allergic reaction.
If you have red eyes that last for more than a few days, do not delay an ophthalmologist consult.
Causes of red eyes: 🤩
There are multiple causes of red eyes, out of which some are mentioned below:
- The most common cause is an allergic reaction after you get exposed to an allergen. You may notice itching, redness, and watering of the eyes.
- Eye dryness can also cause redness. Dry eyes can cause you to blink frequently with associated redness. If you have a disease called “keratoconjunctivitis sicca“, you are prone to develop eye dryness. You can check the “cracker sign” at home. If you can eat a cracker without taking water with it, you don’t have the condition.
- Dry and red eyes can also be due to certain medications such as Tryptanol or TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) and Dupixent (Dupilumab)
- Lack of sleep is a common cause of red eyes and does not require any specific therapy.
- Watching mobile and television for a longer time.
- The contact lens can cause irritation and redness in the eyes.
- A viral or bacterial infection can result in red eyes that may be associated with fever, flu, headache, and watery eyes.
- Episcleritis or blepharitis results in red-eye as well.
- Uveitis, which is the inflammation of the uvea can cause redness in the eyes. It is a serious eye disease and needs to be treated by an ophthalmologist
- Sometimes, rubbing the eyes can result in a hemorrhage which is the cause of redness in the eyes.
- Closed-angle glaucoma may cause redness as well. It is usually associated with headaches and reduced vision.
How to get rid of red eyes fast?
Once you have identified the cause of red eyes and made sure your red eyes are not due to a serious cause, you may try any of the following methods to get rid of them.
Cooling of eyes:
- Normally cooling of eyes by placing ice cubes over the surface of the closed eyes can be useful.
- It can be done two to three times a day to reduce the redness of the eyes.
- It causes the constriction of blood vessels in the eyes and makes the eyes clear of redness.
- However, you should not touch the ice cubes directly with the inside of the eyes. You can keep the ice cubes for some time with your eyes closed.
- Some irritants in the eyes cause redness, which can be cleared by using an artificial tear-like solution available on the market. These solutions are lubricants for eyeballs to keep them wet.
- When instilled inside the eyes, the eyes become washed off from the irritants.
- Artificial tears can also be used if you have dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Keep away from dust and irritants:
- To avoid redness caused by irritants, the eyes should be kept safe from the dust present in the environment by using glasses.
- The smoke coming from different sources including industries, furnaces, tanneries, etc can irritate the eyes. So it should be avoided.
- Aerosol sprays or fumes in the air can cause redness in the eyes. So to avoid redness in the eyes, the ventilation system in the room must be restored.
Keep your eyes clean:
- Avoid contact with your eyes with dirty or soaked hands. Wash hands before touching the eyes which are one of the most sensitive organs.
- Using dirty towels can also cause irritation and red eyes. So avoid using contaminated towels or clothes.
- The eyes should be washed daily in the morning and after sleep.
- Do not use mobiles, and tablets, or work on laptops and computers for a prolonged period of time. Limit watching television. Use laptop and Television screens where applicable.
- Take adequate amounts of fluids, especially water. Don’t take too much of Inflammatory foods as they may trigger inflammation and cause congestion and redness of the eyes.
- If you are using contact lenses, wear them gently and keep these lenses moist before wearing them.
- Sometimes contaminated water in the swimming pools can cause reactions in the eyes, resulting in redness. To get rid of red eyes, take a bath in neat and clean water.
- The use of makeup in women can result in reactions in the eyes. Take proper precautionary measures while doing makeup.
Use of vasoconstrictors:
Also known as decongestants are used to constrict the blood vessels in the eyes. They are present in the form of eye drops and can be used twice or thrice a day. Some of the most common eye drops are:
- Systane red eyes.
- Visine red-eye comfort.
- Clear eyes
Although it is safe to use decongestant eye drops, they should not be used in the long term. The reason is that when the effects of these drops wear off, there is marked dilation of blood vessels in the eyes which results in more and more redness of the eyes.
Use of antihistamines:
Sometimes there is an allergic reaction in the eyes, due to some dust particles or pollen. To treat the allergic reaction, antiallergic or antihistamines eye drops can be used.
These drugs block the release of chemical mediators that trigger an allergic reaction. Some examples are as follows:
- Systane zaditor.
- Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
They can be used three to four times a day because their duration of action is short. These drugs should be avoided in people with heart diseases, high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, or glaucoma.
The eyes get fatigued when a person does not sleep. So it is fruitful to get enough sleep because the eyes get healed during the process of sleep.
Enough sleep is also important to make the eyes lubricated which is vital to get rid of red eyes by dryness or itching.
Antiviral eye drops:
Viral infection in the eyes can cause pink to red eyes and irritation in them. Antiviral eye drops such as ophthalmic acyclovir are used to combat the viral effects of the herpes simplex virus.
For viral conjunctivitis, drugs like ganciclovir, vidarabine ointment, or solutions are effective. However, always consult your doctor before using any such medications.
Antibacterial eye drops:
Bacteria in the eyes can cause redness in the eyes and green or yellow discharge from the eyes. A purulent discharge is characteristic of a bacterial infection.
Antibacterial eye drops such as chloramphenicol are available to treat bacterial infections by killing the bacteria. Other antibiotic drops are now more commonly used.
It is best to consult your doctor before using any kind of antibiotics (topical or oral).
Treatment of closed-angle glaucoma:
Closed-angle glaucoma causes redness in the eyes. In glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure occurs, which results in damage to the optic nerve causing red eye.
By treating this disorder, red-eye can be prevented. Your doctor may prescribe you acetazolamide drops or tablets. In severe cases, you may need surgery to reduce the intraocular pressure.