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4 Possible Causes of Your Red Eyes

Red sore allergy eye

If your eyes are red, it is tempting to blame the discomfort on allergies or tiredness. While both of these conditions can cause red eyes, there is a host of other illnesses that cause redness of the eye. Here are a few possible ailments that could be causing your red eyes. 

1. The Herpes Virus
The herpes virus can manifest in the eye due to a condition known as herpetic eye disease. Two different viruses can cause herpetic eye disease: herpes zoster ophthalmicus and herpes simplex type 1. Both of these viruses can cause eye redness and are extremely painful.
Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is the same virus that causes shingles and chicken pox. When the virus affects the eye, common symptoms aside from eye redness include pain in one eye, headache, fever, and corneal swelling. It is important to treat a case of herpes zoster promptly; when left untreated, it can cause corneal damage.
Symptoms of herpes simplex type 1 are similar to herpes zoster, but there are a few distinct markers that set the condition apart. The most common symptoms unique to herpes simplex are pain when around bright light, uncontrollable tears, and a constant sensation that there is dirt in your eye.
To treat either herpes simplex virus, your eye doctor will prescribe an anti-viral medication. To decrease the risk of corneal damage, your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid eye drops.
2. Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerves in your eyes; it manifests in two different ways, but only one type of glaucoma causes eye redness.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle where the cornea meets the iris remains open. In its early stages, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms. Vision loss is usually the first symptom that patients notice, and by the time vision loss occurs, the condition is in an advanced stage.
The other type of glaucoma is acute angle-closure glaucoma. If you have redness in your eyes due to glaucoma, this is the type that may cause it. Other symptoms include hazy vision, nausea, and the appearance of rainbow-colored circles when looking at bright light. As the angle between the iris and cornea decreases in size, this causes the symptoms to appear or increase in severity.
Regular eye exams are essential for detecting glaucoma. Damage from glaucoma is irreversible, but multiple treatment options can preserve your vision and slow the disease's progression.
3. Uveitis
Uveitis is a disorder that causes inflammation of the tissues in and around the eye. Something (usually an illness or an external toxin) causes the inflammation; to treat the uveitis, your eye doctor must determine what is causing the inflammation. Causes of uveitis include autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis and ulcerative colitis. In addition to eye redness, uveitis results in the appearance of floating spots, blurred vision, pain in and around the eye, and light sensitivity.
Treatment depends on the underlying condition that is causing the uveitis. It may include steroids, anti- inflammatory medicine, and medications that suppress the immune system.
4. Pinkeye
Despite its name, pink eye frequently turns the eye red. It may also cause the eye to swell, tear up, and emit discharge. Pink eye can be viral, or bacteria can cause it.
For viral pink eye, your eye doctor will usually let the disease run its course. Make sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching the eye so that you do not spread the disease to other people.
If your pink eye is bacterial, a round of prescription antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing the disease. Symptoms of viral and bacterial pinkeye are similar, but bacterial pink eye usually has more drainage. The drainage is often gray or yellow.
Is it time for your annual eye exam? Contact Carolina Cataract & Laser Center, P.A. today to schedule your appointment.