The eye can turn red for a multitude of reasons, many of which can be serious or sight threatening. Some of the more common causes of red eyes are dryness, conjunctivitis, allergies, corneal abrasions and contact lens over-wear. There are also more serious conditions such as uveitis, corneal ulcer, ocular herpes and certain types of glaucoma that can affect your vision long term.
So the real question is, what should you do if your eyes turn red? If you are a contact lens wearer, the first thing you should do is take your contacts out immediately. If the redness does not go away within a couple of hours, then you should make an appointment with an eye care professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist).
Anytime you develop redness with pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision or swelling, you should call your eye doctor right away. Most eye doctors (including me) will make room in their schedule in order to see you the same day if you are experiencing any of the previous symptoms. All too often I see patients that wait for days or weeks before seeking treatment or they see the wrong type of provider and may get misdiagnosed. Just the same as you would see a dentist for tooth pain, you should see an eye doctor for eye pain.
Red eyes can sometimes be difficult to diagnose properly, but it's critical to have a proper diagnosis in order to get the proper treatment. Optometrists and Ophthalmologists have specialized equipment and extensive training on all eye diseases and conditions. We may use any combination of antibiotics, steroids, antivirals, over the counter drops, dilating drops or more depending on the diagnosis. If you ever have any questions about your eyes, feel free to call us at Insights Optical and we will be glad to help in any way we can.