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The Many Causes of Chronic Red Eyes

Red eyes occur when the tiny blood vessels located between the sclera and the clear conjunctiva of your eye dilate. Usually, you can’t see these vessels, but irritation, infection, or injury can cause them to become inflamed.

Red eyes have more than two dozen possible causes. Here at Valley Eye Professionals, our team of expert doctors can evaluate your chronic red eyes to help you find a solution and prevent complications of a possibly serious eye condition. Call our Studio City, Los Angeles, office to schedule your assessment today.

Red eyes sometimes have additional symptoms

Red eyes sometimes show up as just a diffuse pinkness or redness in the whites of your eyes. You may notice pink or red squiggly lines, too. Red eyes may also be accompanied by other symptoms, including burning, itching, dryness, and irritation. Watery eyes, a discharge, and vision changes — such as blurriness or light sensitivity — can be part of your red eye syndrome.

The environment can be to blame

Chronic red eyes may result from allergies, sensitivity to air pollution, or smoke in the air — from fires or secondhand smoke. The weather can also be a culprit: If you face an especially dry day or if your office building has dry air, your eyes may suffer. And do you remember to always wear your sunglasses? Exposure to the California sun without blocking the UV rays can cause your eyes to burn.

Common eye conditions with easy treatment

Dry eyes are a very real condition that affects about 16 million people. Your body stops producing tears that effectively protect your eyes, making them more vulnerable to irritation and reddening. Special lubricating drops are available as is a minor tear duct procedure to alleviate the red eyes due to dry eye syndrome.

If you spend a lot of time staring at screens, such as a computer or tablet, red eyes can result. Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can also cause red eyes. Our doctors may suggest lifestyle changes to help you alleviate red eyes in these instances. 

Minor infections, such as conjunctivitis or pink eye, are easily addressed with prescription medications. If you wear contacts, changing brands or types — or switching to glasses — may be enough to reduce chronic red eyes.

Ruling out serious eye issues

It’s important to see an eye care professional if you suffer from chronic red eyes to rule out a serious eye condition. More serious eye infections, eye trauma, or complications from eye surgery are possible conditions that require a doctor’s intervention.

In some cases, a corneal ulcer or acute glaucoma — a buildup of intraocular pressure at the back of the eye — could be behind your chronic red eye. Inflammation of specific areas of your eye can be a cause. These include:

Other possible causes that may require intervention are corneal cysts, stys, and a broken blood vessel.

If you’re concerned about constant redness in one or both eyes, call Valley Eye Professionals or book an appointment using our online tool. We can rule out any serious conditions and offer treatment — whether that’s a change in eyewear, eye drops, or surgery — to help you achieve a clear look and vision.

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