Red eye

Eye redness is normally a sign that you have developed a minor eye condition.  If your eyes are both red and painful however, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.  Either way, visiting your optometrist for advice is a good idea.


Red Eye Causes

The most common cause of a red eye is an eye disease called conjunctivitis.


When conjunctivitis occurs the clear tissue covering your eyeball becomes inflamed.  This starts to swell and becomes irritated and in turn this causes the blood vessels in our eye to swell.  When this happens, our eyes take on the red, bloodshot appearance we associate with red eye.  As well as the appearance, often with conjunctivitis our eyes can feel gritty. There are many possible causes of this eye condition including bacterial, viral infections and allergic reactions.

Burst Blood Vessel

A haemorrhage in the blood vessels can occur after coughing or sudden exertion straining your eyes.  When it occurs the blood vessel bursts giving a distinct red appearance to our eyes.


Painful Red Eye

If you are suffering with red eye and your eyes are painful, then it is possible  you are suffering with one of the following:


This is an inflammation of the Iris, the coloured part of the eye surrounding the pupil.  There is no known cause for this condition but it sometimes occurs if another systemic condition is present as well.

Common symptoms of iritis include headaches, oversensitivity to light, and blurred vision.

Corneal Ulcers

If you feel like there is something in your eye permanently, then you may well have a corneal ulcer.  Contact lens wearers and cold sore suffers tend to develop corneal ulcers.  If your optometrist believes you have a corneal ulcer, he or she will refer you to an eye specialist for treatment.

 Acute Glaucoma

This is a serious condition.  When this occurs the pressure inside your eye ball increases rapidly and may cause blurred vision, halos to appear around lights, nausea and sickness, and your eye will be constantly watering.

If your optometrist believes you are suffering with an acute glaucoma, they will refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) straight away treatment delay can result in permanent vision loss.

There are many causes of red eye from an allergic reaction to infections of the eye such as conjunctivitis. Red eye varies in severity and it is important to distinguish whether it is an emergency in need of immediate action, or a self limiting condition that can be managed easily and effectively.

If you experience a red eye, you should consult your optometrist or GP.


Regular Eye Tests

Everyone should be having regular eye tests at least once every two years, and these should be more frequent as we get older.  If you have not had one for some time, then contact us here and make an appointment.