Your eyes can turn red when the blood vessels on the surface of the eyes expand or dilate. The term ‘red eye’ is also known as ‘pink eye’ or ‘bloodshot eyes’. If the whites of your turn red, it is not often serious and can be treated at home.
We have all experienced a red, itchy eye at some point in our lives. A red eye is generally used to describe irritated, red, and bloodshot eyes. Eye redness can be painful and extremely uncomfortable. A red eye is the first sign of eye inflammation.1 Red eyes may be relatively harmless and can easily improve with home remedies. However, if the red eye is accompanied by swelling, eye pain, light sensitivity, or blurry vision, you must immediately seek medical help. A red eye is the result of a reaction to something that irritates your eye. It can affect one or both eyes and might appear suddenly or progress with time; it can be due to eye injury or an allergic reaction to some foreign substance that entered your eyes.
Symptoms of Red Eyes:Redness of eyes is itself a symptom as a result of some irritation. Signs and symptoms that may accompany a red eye include:
- Eye discharge
- Watering of eyes
- Change in vision
- Photophobia (eye discomfort in bright light)1
What Are the Causes of Red Eyes?
There are many reasons why the whites of eyes appear red. Red eyes are primarily caused due to the dilation of small blood vessels located between the overlying conjunctiva of the eye and the sclera. Here are some other causes of redness in the eyes.
- Air pollution
- Allergens in the air
- Chemical exposure
- Airborne fumes
- Overexposure to the sunlight
- Eye allergies
- Pink eye
- Digital eye strain
- Wearing contact lenses
Serious Eye Conditions
- Eye injury or trauma
- Eye infections
- Corneal ulcer
Lack of sleep and constantly using digital devices can also put a strain on the eye and lead to redness in the eyes.
How to Treat Red Eyes Naturally at HomeRed eyes can be treated at home unless it is not serious. Here are some natural ways that you can try to treat red eyes at home.
Blink More OftenBlinking frequently can keep your eyes moistened and even get rid of the irritants in the eyes. It is a very simple way of treating red eyes. It prevents dry eyes which is one of the causes for red eyes. Blinking your eyes frequently can also help reduce the symptoms of eye strain. To blink your eyes more often, close your eyes and count to 3. Then squeeze your eyelids tightly together and count to 3. Open your eyes and count to 3. These steps can be followed 5 or 6 times and can be done as one set.
Cucumber helps shrink the blood vessels in the eyes and treat the condition. The anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber also help reduce puffiness around the eyes. Here’s how you can use cucumber to treat red eyes –
- Cut a few refrigerated slices of cucumber.
- Place one slice on each eye for about 30 minutes.
- Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
Aloe vera has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat red and irritated eyes. It also contains ethyl acetate extracts and ethanol which prevent inflammation of the eyes. Here is how you can use aloe vera for your eyes –
- Blend aloe vera gel and water.
- Refrigerate it for an hour.
- Later, soak 2 cotton pads in it and place them on your eyes.
Tea BagsUsed tea bags can also be used for treating red eyes. Tea is rich in flavonoids and tannins which can treat red eyes. Keep two tea bags in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Take them out after half an hour. Lie down on the bed and place the tea bags on your eyelids.
Rose WaterRose water has a relaxing effect on the eyes. Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the irritation in the eyes and thus reduce the redness. Here is how you can use this remedy. Soak a couple of cotton pads in rose water and place one on each eye for about 15 minutes.
Cold CompressIt is one of the effective and natural remedies for red eyes. The cold temperature can help tighten the skin around the eyes which relaxes the blood vessels. This, in turn, reduces redness in the eye. Dip a soft cloth in cold water and place it on your eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes.
Warm CompressPlace a warm compress over the eyelids to help deal with bloodshot eyes. The heat will increase the blood circulation in that area and form tears which can help reduce the dryness in the eye. To make a warm compress at home, dip a lint-free cloth in warm water and wring it. Then lie down on a bed, and cover your eyes with the cloth for a minute. Use a different washcloth and repeat it 3 or 4 times a day.
RinseRubbing your eyes constantly can worsen the condition. Natural remedies for red eyes include rinsing your eyes frequently. Splash water on your eyes a few times as it will help soothe the inflammation and can even help you get rid of the irritant that is causing the redness in the eye. Take a handful of water and constantly splash it over your eyes. Do this 3-4 times a day.
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Chilled SpoonPlacing a chilled spoon on the eyes can also help reduce the redness in the eyes. The cool temperature of the spoon soothes the inflammation of the eyes. All you have to do is immerse a metal spoon in a glass filled with ice water and then place it on the eyelids.
ChamomileOne of the best home remedies for red and swollen eyes is chamomile. It has powerful anti-allergenic effects that can help reduce the infection or the redness in the eye. Chamomile prevents the release of a chemical called histamine in the eyes which prevents any allergic reaction in the eyes. It suppresses this chemical and provides relief to the eyes. You can use chamomile tea in the form of a cold compress or even as an eyewash.
Drink WaterOne of the best remedies for bloodshot eyes is drinking water. If your eyes appear red because of dehydration, you should increase your water intake. When the body is hydrated, the blood vessels that are present in front of the eyes will function more efficiently. Also, water is a good way to flush out all the toxins from the body. Drink water at regular intervals. You can also try flavoured water or even drink lemon water. However, avoid drinking coffee, soda, or alcohol as they lead to dehydration.
Here are some additional tips that you must keep in mind.
- Always wash your hands after you have come in contact with any person who has an eye infection.
- Avoid using a computer for long hours as it can strain your eyes. Take small breaks while using the computer to give some rest to your eyes.
- Remove all your eye makeup before sleeping as it can cause redness in the eyes too.
- If you wear contact lens, clean them before and after you use them.
- Don’t wear contact lenses for long periods of time.
- If you find that any foreign substance or particle has entered your eye, be sure to splash some cold water in your eyes immediately.
- Don’t drink alcohol and avoid smoking as it can aggravate redness in the eyes.
When to See a DoctorIf you have tried the above remedies and the condition is not improving, then you must visit a doctor as it could be an infection. If your eyes are sensitive to light and the problem persists for long, visit a doctor.
How Long Does it Take for Red Eyes to Heal?
If you have bloodshot eyes because of an eye infection, it can take 3 to 5 days (from the time the symptoms show up) to heal completely. Allergens sometimes take even several months and do not subside until the right treatment is given.
Try the above remedies to treat the redness in your eyes. However, if the problem persists for long, see a doctor.