Among the most common symptoms of eye problems are red or bloodshot eyes, but although these may be easy to recognize, they can be extremely difficult to interpret. This is because red eyes could potentially be caused by so many different issues, some of which may be very serious while others might be only temporary or easily remedied. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we perform a number of non-invasive tests during a comprehensive medical eye exam that can determine what might be triggering your red eyes. This is important, since catching and treating serious eye conditions early is the best way to avoid permanent vision loss. Here are some important things that you should keep in mind if you are experiencing red eyes.
Eye Fatigue and Chronic Dry Eye
The eyes are composed of very sensitive tissues, but have to be exposed to the environment in order to do their job. This means that they need constant moisture and lubrication. When there is either an insufficient quantity or quality of tears to properly lubricate and nourish the eyes, chronic dry eye can result, causing the surface of the eye to become inflamed and irritated and making the eyes look red. Among the most common causes of dry eyes today is extended use of a computer, including tablets and phones, since people staring at the screen of an electronic device tend to blink less often. Red, burning eyes are common symptoms of computer vision syndrome, but can be easily remedied by taking frequent rest breaks.
Allergies and Eye infections
When the eyes are exposed to a foreign substance, like pollen, pet dander, dust or certain chemicals found in makeup or contact lens solutions, the immune system reacts by releasing histamine to “fight off” the allergens. Histamine causes the blood vessels in your eyes to enlarge, making your eyes become red and watery, but can usually be relieved with simple anti-histamine allergy medication. More seriously, when foreign bacteria come into contact with the eye through injury or improper contact lens care it can potentially result in an eye infection. Some infections, like conjunctivitis, or pink eye, are easily treated, while others could result in corneal ulcers or permanent vision loss. If red eye persists for long periods, even after resting the eyes, it is important to see an eye care specialist as soon as possible.
Potentially Serious Eye Conditions
Although red eyes are often nothing to worry about, they can also be a sign of something much more serious. Uveitis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uvea), is often characterized by red eyes, light sensitivity, and visual disturbances such as floaters and blurry vision. The sudden onset of painful, bright-red eyes accompanied by halos around lights, vision loss, and nausea may signal acute angle-closure glaucoma. Both of these conditions can potentially result in permanent vision loss, but can be treated effectively if caught in the early stages.
Diagnosing and treating eye problems can be difficult, but eye specialists Dr. William Segal and Dr. Marc lay have the experience to determine exactly what is going on and get you the help that you need. If you are concerned with your eyesight, or would like to schedule a comprehensive medical eye examination, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more to keep your vision healthy.