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Why Do My Eyes Always Look Red?

Why Do My Eyes Always Look Red?

Eye redness isn’t uncommon, and, usually, it’s easily remedied. Sometimes, though, red eyes can be a sign of a serious problem that requires prompt medical intervention. Understanding the causes of red eyes is important for knowing when to seek care.

Rodrigo Belalcazar, MD, PLLC, and our team at Advanced Eye Center in Hialeah, Florida, are skilled at diagnosing the cause of red eyes and providing advanced treatment options to preserve your eye health and prevent vision problems. In this post, learn about some common — and not-so-common — causes of eye redness.

Irritation

All day long, your eyes are exposed to all sorts of airborne particles and pollutants. Smoke, dust, chemicals, and allergens like pollen can lead to eye redness. Sometimes, redness is accompanied by burning or itching sensations or eyelid swelling.

Your eyes can also be irritated by sunlight. The UV rays that burn your skin can irritate your eyes too. That’s true whether the sunlight is direct or indirect, reflected by a bright surface like water, sand, or snow.

Conjunctivitis

Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers your eyes and lines your eyelids. 

Pink eye can be caused by an infection from either bacteria or viruses. This type of pink eye is often accompanied by itching, burning, tearing, and thick eye discharge. Allergies can also cause pink eye, a condition called allergic conjunctivitis.

Other infections

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis aren’t the only infections that cause eye redness. Corneal infections, uveitis (inflammation involving the middle part of your eye), and eyelid infections can cause eye redness too.

While infections may seem mild at first, they can quickly worsen. Without prompt treatment, eye infections can lead to permanent vision loss — a major reason your red eyes should always be evaluated by our team.

Eye strain

Also called asthenopia, eye strain is associated with long periods of close-up work, like reading, staring at a computer screen, or certain workplace activities requiring a lot of focus. 

In addition to eye redness, eye strain can lead to headaches, blurry vision, and dry eyes. Working in plenty of small breaks to focus on distance can help relieve eye strain, along with using proper lighting.

Contact lens wear

Contact lenses are a popular alternative to glasses, but they do require special care to keep them clean. Without a good cleansing routine, you can develop serious eye infections or scratches on your cornea. 

Contact lenses can also cause redness if you wear them for too long, fall asleep in them, or use cleaning solutions that are expired or no longer sterile. Lenses that don’t fit properly and exposure to smoke and other pollutants can lead to redness as well.

Dry eyes

Your tears help keep your eyes moist, and they also wash away irritants that help your eyes stay comfortable and healthy. Dry eyes typically happen because your eyes don’t make enough tears, your tear quality is poor, or your eyes don’t distribute tears properly.

If you have dry eyes, you might have burning or stinging sensations or your eyes might water. Lots of factors can contribute to dry eyes, including certain medications, exposure to dry environments, lifestyle factors (like staring at a computer or phone screen), and aging.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that involve damage to your optic nerve, the nerve that carries vision signals to your brain for interpretation. Some types of glaucoma cause eye redness due to changes in ocular circulation and inflammation.

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease with few early warning signs. While it can be treated, delays in care can lead to permanent vision loss, earning glaucoma the nickname of the silent thief of sight.

Don’t ignore red eyes

Eye redness isn’t uncommon, and in most cases, it’s nothing serious. But if your eyes are persistently red, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that needs prompt treatment.

To find out what’s causing your red eyes (and how we can help relieve them), call 305-707-6011 or book an appointment online with Dr. Belalcazar today.

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