Red eye is often a sign of a minor eye condition like a burst blood vessel or conjunctivitis. It might be uncomfortable but it shouldn’t be painful. If it is painful then you should seek urgent medical advice by contacting your GP, ringing 111 or going to your nearest A&E department.
This advice is essential if you have other symptoms such as a sensitivity to light, feeling sick, a severe headache or any sudden changes in your vision. It is also good to get medical help if you have recently injured your eye.
More common causes of red eye with no pain such as conjunctivitis and a burst blood vessel don’t tend to affect your vision and normally get better on their own in just a week or two.
Conjunctivitis makes one or both eyes look bloodshot and feel sticky. It isn’t uncommon for you eye to be stuck shut in the morning if you have conjunctivitis. It might feel like you have something stuck in your eye but try and resist the urge to rub it. Conjunctivitis is often caused by an infection but can also be the result of an allergic reaction or exposure to an irritant.
Most of the time conjunctivitis clears up on it’s own but you can see your pharmacist if you are worried. You can clean your eyes with cool, boiled water but make sure you use a separate piece for each eye to avoid cross infection. You can also hold a cold flannel on your eyes or a few minutes which sometimes helps.
Whilst you have conjunctivitis make sure you don’t share face flannels or towels and don’t rub your eyes or you might spread it to the other eye. Make sure you wash your hands regularly.
Burst Blood Vessel in the Eye
Simply coughing or straining can cause a blood vessel in your eye to burst. It can also occur if you injure your eye. A burst blood vessel in the eye can look quite alarming but it’s usually not serious and should go away on it’s own in a week or two.
Here are some causes of a painful red eye and you should seek advice from a doctor urgently if you have any other symptoms or your vision is affected.
Glaucoma is an eye condition which affects the optic nerve. Your eye will most likely be very painful and red and you may feel sick. Your eyesight might be cloudy or blurred and you might see a halo around lights. Glaucoma needs be treated quickly as it can lead to a permanent loss of vision. Find out more about Glaucoma here
People who wear contact lenses are more prone to getting corneal ulcers. The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eyeball and an ulcer on the cornea can cause sensitivity to light and make the eye red. If you have a corneal ulcer you should be referred to an eye specialist for treatment asap.
A red and painful eye can also be caused by having something stuck in your eye. This can be removed by a GP or hospital doctor who may use anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eye before trying to get it out. Sometimes the foreign object scratches your eye and it might be uncomfortable for a few days. You might be given antibiotic eye drops or ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
If you, a friend or a relative, have any eye problems but find it hard to get to your local optician please give us a call on 0203 418 8488 or visit our website at www.communitycareopticians.co.uk