Let's Talk Eye Irritation and How to Handle it

By Eye Institute of Houston
October 15, 2016

eye conditionsWe love seeing expressive t-shirts that do the talking for us. A few of our favorites simply say "Nope." and "I can't." We imagine this is exactly how a patient may feel when they are struggling with red, irritated eyes. It's not only the fact that eye irritation is, well, irritating; but that there is also a stress-factor related to "do I or don't I . . . " get treatment, that is. Here, we are going to focus on 3 of the most common reasons why your eyes may get red and irritated, and what you may do to handle your situation.
Injury

An injury to the face may affect the eye, even if the injury is not immediately evident. The cornea may get scratched by a traumatic facial injury, or it is possible that the retina may be torn or detached. Another common form of injury is a broken blood vessel. Unlike some of the more serious events, this one may not produce an ounce of pain. It will produce a noticeable symptom, though. The blood that leaks from the broken vessel could cause a dramatically red eye.

What to do: Eye injuries, including a minor break in a blood vessel, should be examined by your eye doctor. Sometimes, no treatment is needed, but its best to rule out the necessity.

Allergies
Anyone who has seasonal or pet allergies knows that the eyes can become highly agitated in response to the instigating allergen. In addition to redness, allergies can make the eyes water excessively while they also feel uncomfortably dry. The tissue around the eyes may also become swollen in the histamine response.

What to do: Mild allergies can usually be treated with antihistamine medication purchased over the counter. The eyes may be quickly soothed with cool compresses, as well. Rubbing should be avoided. If allergic response is more intense, prescription antihistamine medication may be a better approach for future flare-ups.

Infection
Just about everyone has heard the term "pink eye," and most feel the urge to run in the opposite direction when they do. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, can be quite uncomfortable, causing redness and swelling, burning and itching, and discharge.

What to do: If discharge from the eyes becomes very thick or discolored, or if a fever develops, medical care should be obtained. Otherwise, the eyes can be soothed with cool compresses. Just be sure not to share! Give each eye its own compress.

Are you in need of eye care? We're happy to help. Call Eye Institute of Houston for friendly service.

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