They can occur on one side or both sides. The causes of red eyes can be very diverse and can (but need not) also indicate a serious illness. They can also occur suddenly or slowly.
They can occur at short notice and are longer lasting. A possible cause can be bleeding under the conjunctiva. This is called hyposphagma in medical terminology.
The eye and especially the foremost corneal layer is constantly wetted with a film of fluid from the tear glands. This also keeps the eye moist and flushes small dust particles out of the eye. Therefore, even a dry eye can lead to reddish looking eyes, which can also itch.
Dry eyes can be caused by prolonged screen work, dry air or even air conditioning. Other causes of red eyes can be various inflammations. These include conjunctivitis, inflammation of the cornea, inflammation of the eyelid or eyelid margin, and inflammation of the sclera (called scleritis and episcleritis).
Red eyes also regularly occur in the case of allergies or as a concomitant symptom of an existing hay fever. A glaucoma attack can also be a possible cause. Glaucoma is an increase in intraocular pressure that must be treated immediately, as this can lead to detachment of the retina and damage to the optic nerve.
Red eyes can have many different causes, some symptoms are classic for certain diseases, while other symptoms always occur in addition to the red eyes. Red eyes caused by a dry conjunctiva also itch and burn. The itching often drives the patient to rub his eyes, but this is exactly what should be avoided, as it does not help to improve the symptoms, but rather makes them worse.
If there is an inflammation of a structure in the eye, swelling, itching, burning and a foreign body sensation can occur in addition to the red eye. The swelling can also affect the eyelid and cause pain. Last but not least, the inflammation can also spread so far that vision problems occur.
Indications of a bacterial or viral inflammation can be wet and sticky eyes, especially in the morning after sleeping. In contrast, a glaucoma attack is often accompanied by sudden severe pain in the affected eye. An increasing deterioration in vision can be observed within hours. Other accompanying symptoms are headaches and nausea up to vomiting. The glaucoma attack is an absolute emergency.
Depending on the cause, different eye drops can be used to treat red eyes.
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