causes

Red eyes occur when the blood vessels in the eye widen and are supplied with more blood. The whites of the eyes appear redder than usual. Red eyes are therefore very easy to recognize. They can occur on one side but also on both sides. The causes of red eyes can be very diverse and can (but do not have to) also indicate a serious illness. They can also arise suddenly or slowly. They can appear short-term and last longer. A possible cause could be bleeding under the conjunctiva. In medical terminology, this is known as hyposphagma.

General

The eye and especially the front layer of the cornea are constantly wetted with a film of liquid from the lacrimal glands. This also keeps the eye moist and flushes smaller dust particles out of the eye. According to this, even a dry eye can lead to reddish eyes that can also itch. Dry eyes can be caused by long screen work, dry air or even by air conditioning. Other causes of red eyes can be various inflammations. These include conjunctivitis, corneal inflammation, eyelid skin or eyelid margin inflammation and inflammation of the dermis (called scleritis and episcleritis). Red eyes also occur regularly in the case of allergies or as a concomitant symptom of a hay fever. A glaucoma attack can also be the cause. Glaucoma (glaucoma) is an increase in intraocular pressure that must be treated immediately, as this can lead to the detachment of the retina and damage to the optic nerve.

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Symptoms

The red eyes can have many different causes, some symptoms are classic for certain diseases, while other symptoms always appear in addition to the red eyes. Red eyes, which are caused by dry conjunctiva, are also itchy and stinging. The itching often causes the patient to rub their eyes, but this is exactly what should be avoided as it does not improve symptoms, but rather makes them worse. If there is 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 spread to such an extent that it leads to impaired vision. Signs of bacterial or viral inflammation can include clammy and sticky eyes, especially in the morning after sleeping. A glaucoma attack, on the other hand, is often accompanied by sudden, severe pain in the affected eye. A progressive deterioration in vision can be observed within hours. Other accompanying complaints are headaches and nausea and even vomiting. The attack of glaucoma is an absolute emergency.

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Read more on the topic: Reddened eyes - what helps? and eye pain

therapy

Depending on the cause, different eye drops can be used to treat red eyes.

Over-the-counter eye drops

Hyaluronic acid is one of the non-prescription eye drops. It is considered to be moisturizing and can therefore be used very well for dry eyes caused, for example, by lack of sleep, dry air and air conditioning or by working for a long time in front of the computer. Tetryzoline is also not subject to prescription. These eye drops can help reduce redness and reduce puffiness. The active ingredients cause blood vessels to shrink, which reduces the redness very well.

Antiallergic eye drops containing levocabastine and antazoline also help against reddened eyes. They are also known as antihistamines. Their mode of action is based on the fact that they reduce the body's own histamine, which triggers the itching, and thus the symptoms can be effectively reduced.

There are a number of over-the-counter eye drops for red eyes, most of which are available in pharmacies or on the Internet for a few euros. Examples of eye drops for red eyes are Visine®, Clear eyes®, Optex®, Hylo-Comod® and Hylo-Protect®. However, there are many other eye drops from different companies, the ones mentioned here are only examples and by no means a complete list.

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Ophtalmin®

The Ophtalmin® eye drops contain the active ingredient tetryzoline hydrochloride. They have a decongestant effect on the nasal mucosa as well as on the eyes by contracting the small veins in the eye. As the vessels narrow, the redness of the eye is reduced.

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The eye drops are freely available in pharmacies and usually cost between ten and twenty euros, depending on the size of the pack. You should not take Ophtalmin® if you are allergic to other eye drops. Caution is also required in the case of eye diseases or diseases of the circulatory system, heart and metabolism and a doctor should be consulted first.

Proculin®

Proculin® eye drops contain the active ingredient naphazoline. As with Ophtalmin®, they cause the small blood vessels in the eye to constrict, so that there is less blood flow and therefore less reddening of the eye.

The Proculin® eye drops can be used for eye irritation from wind / drafts and for allergic itching of the eyes. Caution should also be exercised with this drug in the case of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders, so that a doctor should first assess whether the Proculin® eye drops can be taken safely.

Vividrin®

Vividrin® can be taken in various forms of application. The active ingredient is available both in the form of tablets and eye drops. It is important that the active ingredient cetirizine is included. This drug is effective against allergic reactions. Therefore, Vividrin® eye drops are particularly effective when there is an allergic irritation and thus reddening of the eye. Typically, allergies to pollen and grasses lead to an allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva. This can be treated with cetirizine.

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Read more about the topic at: Therapy of hay fever

Prescription eye drops

Prescription eye drops especially include those that contain antibiotics, cortisone, or pain relievers such as diclofenac. Drops containing cortisone are given to the eyes in particular in the case of inflammation of all kinds. They contain the inflammation and counteract the spread of bacteria. In the case of bacterial infections, eye drops containing antibiotics such as ofloxacin or chloramphenicol are also used. Eye drops containing the active ingredient acyclovir help with viral inflammation of the eye. Prescription drugs also include those used for glaucoma treatment (glaucoma) to be used. Since an acute glaucoma attack is an increase in pressure inside the eye, active ingredients such as ocular beta blockers and prostaglandins, which reduce the production of tear fluid, are used. This prevents the pressure from increasing further. In addition, the tear fluid can increasingly drain away, so that pressure equalization is restored. Here it is essential that the treatment of an acute glaucoma attack is supervised by a specialist doctor.

Read more on the topic: Eye drops and eye drops and eye ointments

Eye drops with antibiotics

Eye drops containing antibiotics can be used to treat inflammation of the eye. However, taking the eye drops with antibiotics only makes sense if there is also a bacterial cause of the symptoms. For example, conjunctivitis can be triggered by bacteria, but viruses are often the cause. The assessment of whether a bacterial or viral disease is present should be made by a family doctor or ophthalmologist. Depending on the underlying pathogen, different antibiotic agents must be selected. Antibiotic eye drops require a prescription.

Read more on the subject at: Eye infection

Eye drops with cortisone

Eye drops containing cortisone should only be used for red eyes if there is an eye disease (for example, allergic irritation or dehydration of the eyes due to autoimmune diseases). These diseases can be treated with cortisone so that the active ingredient can also develop its effect on the eye. The eye drops with cortisone include, for example, Vividrin® Ectoin, Siccaprotect®, Bepanthen® eye drops with cortisone and Crom-Ophtal®.

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Eye drops for allergies

In the case of allergies, eye drops that contain antiallergic agents are particularly suitable. This includes all eye drops that contain the active ingredient cetirizine. These are eye drops such as Allergo Comod®, CromoHexal®, Vividrin® and Crom-Opthal®.

Soothing and moisturizing eye drops without explicitly antiallergic active ingredients can also be taken for irritated eyes caused by allergies. Some of these eye drops may also contain cortisone, which downregulates the body's allergic response.

Read more on the subject at: Eye drops for an allergy

Eye drops for red eyes after alcohol

After drinking alcohol, red eyes typically appear the next morning. Various eye drops can be used to reduce eye irritation. It is particularly important that the eyes receive sufficient moisture. Simple saline solution (NaCl 0.9%) can be purchased in the pharmacy. Drinking a lot can also reduce red eyes. In addition, various non-prescription eye drops such as Visine®, Clear eyes®, Perfrin®, Optex®, Hylo-Comod® and Euphrasia® can be used.

Other causes of red eyes

Eye drops after drug use (marijuana)

The consumption of cannabinoids or marijuana can cause reddened eyes. The substances put the consumer in a frenzy.He experiences euphoric feelings and feels a certain lightness. This condition is also known as "being high". The use of marijuana can have many physical, psychological, and social consequences. An indication of cannabis or marijuana use is often red eyes and dilated pupils.

Cannabinoids expand the blood vessels throughout the body and thus lower blood pressure at the same time. The enlarged blood vessels are supplied with more blood and are shown more clearly in the white of the eyes. In addition, the red eyes are also caused by the smoke that arises from drug use. People who use marijuana are aware of this effect and therefore try to avoid or alleviate the occurrence of red eyes when using drugs. They also use various eye drops, which on the one hand additionally moisturize the conjunctiva and on the other hand, those that reduce the dilation of the pupils. They keep their eyes moist with drops and thus avoid excessive irritation from the smoke produced during consumption.

In addition, cannabinoids may also have a dehydrating effect, so regular users of marijuana make sure that they drink enough to reduce the symptoms of red eyes. Anti-inflammatory eye drops, which are usually only available on prescription, can also help. Furthermore, marijuana users also use vasoconstricting agents for red eyes after consumption. They have exactly the opposite effect on the vessels and narrow the arteries in general. These substances include coffee, chocolate, and salted foods. Placing cucumber slices or a damp towel can also provide relief. The redness of the eyes usually goes away after a while, but occurs every time you use cannabis or marijuana.

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Read more on the subject under: What are the consequences of smoking weed?

contact lenses

For some time now, contact lenses have been the more cosmetically attractive substitute for all people who wear glasses. They are available as dimensionally stable or soft contact lenses and also with appropriate correction of the malfunction of the eye. The contact lenses float on the thin film of liquid that wets the eye and keeps it moist. You therefore have no direct contact with the cornea. But contact lenses can also lead to red eyes. Reddened eyes may develop because wearing contact lenses is still very new and the eyes have to get used to them first.

However, it can also be caused by irritation from the contact lenses or the insertion of the contact lenses into the eye has also carried away small dust or dirt particles, which then irritate the eye and, in addition to reddened eyes, can also lead to burning and itching. Contact lenses should therefore be cleaned well and placed in the eye with clean fingers. If reddened eyes appear, the lenses can be removed and the reddening usually disappears slowly. Eye drops that moisten the eye and also fight bacteria can also be used. Tear substitutes are freely available in the drugstore and moisturizing eye drops can also be bought in the pharmacy without a prescription. In addition, the contact lenses should be kept clean and free of foreign objects such as dust or eyelashes. They are often kept in a container in a special contact lens liquid. This keeps them clean and protects them from damage. If the problems such as reddened eyes, itching or burning sensation persist despite these measures and there is no improvement after using eye drops, you can get advice from your optician. Advice from an ophthalmologist can also provide information about other reasons for red eyes.

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