Red eye is quite literally a condition in which your eyes appear red. This can occur in one or both eyes and result from any number of conditions, including but not limited to inflammations and infections. When an irritant or infection causes the blood vessels of the eye to dilate, it makes your eyes appear red.
There are many causes of red eye, including:
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the most common cause of red eye. It’s an infection affecting the eyelid and whites of the eyeball. When they become fiery and inflamed, it’s visible on your eye. The whites of your eyes turn a reddish or pinkish hue. It rarely affects vision, but it’s highly contagious for up to two weeks.
Dry eyes are another cause. When tear glands can’t produce enough lubrication for your eye, your eyes become dried out. This causes them to become:
Allergies are a typical cause too. “Allergy eyes” are another common name for red eyes. They share common symptoms with pink eye and dry eyes but indicate you’re having an allergic reaction.
Overwearing contacts or not properly caring for them is a leading cause of red eye. Poor contact hygiene can lead to a buildup on your eye of harmful microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If you experience red eyes while wearing contacts, it could signal that you have a serious eye infection.
If you experience occasional periods of red eye that are short-term, it’s often not a cause for alarm. However, if the condition causes discomfort or affects your vision, it’s time to book an appointment with Dr. Shah.
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