Red Eye

What is red eye?

"Red Eye" is a general term used to describe a red, irritated and bloodshot eyes.  There are many different conditions that can cause eye redness. Some of these are medical emergencies and some are a cause for concern, but not an emergency. Others are nothing to worry about.  Conditions that can cause Red Eye include:

  • Blepharitis
  • Uveitis
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma
  • Smoking
  • Trauma
  • Eye infections
  • Dry Eyes
  • Allergies
  • Improper cleaning or over-wearing of contact lenses
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel)

What are the symptoms of red eye?

Redness ranging in severity from a few enlarged blood vessels that look like wiggly red or pink lines across the sclera (the "white" of the eye) to a bright red that completely covers it.  In some cases, eye redness may be accompanied by eye pain, light sensitivity, swelling or blurry vision, and should be evaluated immediately to rule out anything urgent.

How do we treat red eye?

Treatment for Red Eye can range from rest, cool compresses and over-the-counter eye drops to prescription antibiotics or even surgery.  Since there are many different causes for Red Eye and many different treatment options available, it is best to have your SMO physician examine you if you are having any symptoms to rule out anything urgent.