Eye redness or red eyes can be a sign of a number of eye problems, some of which can be minor, while others can be a bit serious. If you are experiencing only redness without any pain, then it is most probably caused by a condition that is not very serious in nature. But if you have pain along with redness, then it is better to get the condition medically evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Eye redness is basically caused by the dilation of the blood vessels present on the surface of the eye.
What Causes Red Eyes
Sometimes, it can be caused by as minor a factor as coughing. But this condition can also be associated with allergies, infections, and trauma to the eye. Sometimes, the redness can be observed to be uniformly spread across the white portion (the sclera) of the eye, while at other times, one can observe redness around the iris or in the corner of the eye.
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is the condition where the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed and infected. Conjunctiva is the transparent mucous membrane, which covers the eyeball, as well as the undersurface of the eyelid. The classic symptoms of pink eye or conjunctivitis are, eye redness, irritation, and eye discharge. This eye problem can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, and allergies. Conjunctivitis caused by infections are highly contagious.
This condition can cause localized redness in the corner of the eye or any other part of the sclera. It can be caused when the blood vessels present underneath the conjunctiva rupture and bleed. Sometimes, factors like forceful sneezing and coughing can cause the small blood vessels located underneath the conjunctiva to burst, which can result in hemorrhage. The localized redness associated with this condition can look frightening, but it is usually a harmless condition that does not cause any pain or irritation of the eye.
Blepharitis refers to the inflammation of the eyelid, which usually begins where the eyelashes grow. This eye problem results when the small oil glands located near the base of the eyelash follicles fail to perform their regular functions properly. Blepharitis can be caused by bacterial infections, allergies, and seborrheic dermatitis. Along with eye redness, it can cause itching and irritation of the eyes, flaking of the skin around the eyes, and crusting near the eyelashes. It can also produce a gritty sensation in the eyes.
Uveitis or an inflammation of the uvea can be another possible cause of eye redness. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye, located between the retina and the sclera (the white portion of the eye). It also includes the iris, ciliary body, and the choroid. So, an inflammation of the iris (or iritis) is a very common type of uveitis. Uveitis can cause red eyes along with pain, light sensitivity, and decreased or blurred vision. This condition calls for immediate medical intervention, as it can cause vision problems if left untreated.
Apart from the aforementioned conditions, eye redness can be caused by several other factors as well. Some such possible causes of red eyes are, allergies, corneal ulcer, corneal scratching, the presence of abrasive foreign substances in the eye, overuse of contact lenses, eyestrain, and acute glaucoma.
So, get your eyes examined, if you have eye redness along with pain, irritation, and unusual eye discharge. This would help ascertain the underlying condition, and treat it accordingly.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.