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Our Sunnyvale optometrists want you to know that eye redness is a relatively common occurrence that can have several causes. Understanding the underlying cause if the first and most important step in making sure you get the right treatment. Some causes of red eyes can be relatively harmless, while others can indicate a more serious problem which, without proper treatment, can wind up damaging your eye and your vision.
Eye redness occurs because the tiny blood vessels in your eyes become irritated, inflamed or swollen. As the vessels become swollen, they may cause the eye to appear bloodshot with prominent red veins radiating across the surface of the eye, or they may cause a more “pinkish” appearance that affects all or just a part of the white portion of the eye, called the sclera. Some of the most common causes of red eyes include:
Sometimes, a small area or splotch of blood will appear just beneath the surface of the eye. Although this can look very serious, it's often caused by benign (harmless) problems (like severe coughing) and will resolve within a few days. Any type of eye redness that's accompanied by pain is an indication that a more serious problem is occurring, like an infection or other internal injury, and immediate care should be sought to avoid permanent damage to the eye or to your vision.
Most eye infections cause some degree of pain or, in their earlier stages, symptoms like itching or scratchiness. You may also have excessive tearing or a stringy discharge from your eye as well as blurry vision or other vision changes, including extreme sensitivity to light. Eye infections can be extremely serious and can spread quickly throughout the eye to cause permanent damage and vision loss. Some eye infections may also be accompanied by ulcers or sores on the eye or the lid and lash line.
Treatments for red eye depend on the underlying cause of the symptoms. The first step in ensuring your get the best care is to have your eye examined to determine the cause. Some possible treatment options include:
Although eye redness is usually caused by relatively harmless issues, it should never be ignored. When symptoms are accompanied by pain, discharge or changes in vision, or when they last for more than two days, you should call the office immediately to schedule an appointment. If eye redness develops after an injury or if you wear contact lenses, you should also call the office immediately.
Silicon Valley Eye Physicians is a leading provider of eye care services for patients throughout Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. If you're experiencing eye redness or other problems with your eyes or vision, call 408-739-6200 to schedule an appointment or visit our Sunnyvale or Santa Clara offices or for a convenient visit online!