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Red Eye? Why?

October 1 2021

Do you get red eyes sometimes? This happens when the blood vessels in your eyes get irritated or swollen. There are many different potential causes of red eye, aside from them just being the after effects of a late night. A local Marysville, WA vet lists some of them below.


Red eyes can be caused by many different things. These range from environmental concerns, such as dry eye and dust, to sun exposure and colds. Red eyes can also happen because of infections, allergic reactions, and lack of sleep. Other potential causes include blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelash follicle; conjunctivitis; corneal ulcers; and uveitis. There’s more! Other possibilities include marijuana use, trauma, styes, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Most of the time, eye redness isn’t a cause for concern. However, it can be an indication of some serious issues. You should contact your doctor if the redness is accompanied by changes in your vision, eye pain, halos, blurred vision, increased light sensitivity, and/or discharge in one or both eyes. If you take medications that thin your blood, such as Coumadin, you’ll also want to reach out to your eye doctor. Symptoms that last longer than a week are also cause for concern, as are red eyes that are accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting. Contact your optometrist right away if you have any of these symptoms.


There are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood of you developing red eyes. If you wear makeup, always take it off at night. Contact wearers should also clean their lenses regularly. Try to avoid—or at least limit—activities that can cause eye strain. A good air filter may also help. Ask your eye doctor for more information.


Eye drops are often helpful in treating red eyes, though if the redness is caused by an underlying condition, the treatment may be far more involved than that. Keep in mind that you really shouldn’t just grab the first OTC drops that look good. Some drops are only meant for occasional use. And, if the drops you use aren’t the right kind for your specific issue, they could make things worse. Contact your eye doctor, and find out exactly what types of eye drops you should use.

Our Advice on Red Eye? Why? in 2024

What are the common causes of red eyes?

Common causes of red eyes include environmental irritants like dust, smoke, and dry air, which can lead to eye irritation and swelling of blood vessels. Allergies are another frequent culprit, triggering inflammatory responses. Infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelash follicles), and corneal ulcers can also cause redness. Additionally, overuse of contact lenses, lack of sleep, and excessive screen time contribute to eye strain and redness. More serious conditions like uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye) and glaucoma may also present with red eyes as a symptom.

What role do infections and allergic reactions play in causing red eyes?

Infections and allergic reactions are significant contributors to red eyes. Infections, such as conjunctivitis or corneal ulcers, involve the invasion of pathogens like bacteria or viruses, leading to inflammation and redness as the body mounts an immune response. Allergic reactions, on the other hand, occur when the eyes come into contact with allergens (e.g., pollen, pet dander, or dust mites), triggering an immune response that releases histamines and causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in redness, itching, and swelling. Both mechanisms show the body’s effort to combat foreign invaders or substances, manifesting visibly in the eyes.

What symptoms alongside red eyes indicate the need for medical attention?

Symptoms accompanying red eyes that signal medical attention include persistent or severe pain, vision changes such as blurring or sensitivity to light, discharge (especially if it’s yellow or green), and swelling around the eyes. The presence of halos around lights, sudden onset of visual disturbances, or red eyes following an injury also warrant immediate evaluation. Furthermore, if redness is accompanied by nausea or vomiting, it could indicate a severe condition like acute glaucoma. These symptoms may suggest an underlying issue requiring prompt diagnosis and treatment by an eye care professional.

Why is it essential to monitor red eye symptoms that persist for over a week?

Monitoring red eye symptoms that persist for over a week is crucial because it can indicate a more serious underlying condition requiring medical intervention. Prolonged redness could be a sign of chronic eye diseases such as glaucoma, uveitis, or a severe infection, all of which can lead to significant vision impairment or loss if left untreated. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can prevent further complications, preserve vision, and ensure overall eye health. Hence, an eye care professional should evaluate any red eye symptoms lasting beyond a week.

When should someone with red eyes consult their eye doctor for treatment options?

Someone with red eyes should consult their eye doctor for treatment options if the redness persists for more than a few days, worsens, or is accompanied by additional symptoms such as pain, vision changes, discharge, increased sensitivity to light, or swelling. Immediate consultation is also advised if red eyes result from an injury or if symptoms include severe headache, nausea, or vomiting. These signs may indicate a more serious condition requiring prompt medical attention to prevent potential vision loss or further eye health complications.

Do you have questions or concerns about red eyes? Contact us, your Marysville, WA eye care center, today!

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Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


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