Red eye is the redness of the coat covering the anterior part of the eye due to irritation or inflammation of blood vessels in the eye. The coat covering the white layer of our eyes (conjunctiva) is naturally designed to be protected, in the form of antibacterial activity, flushing action of tears and low temperature due to exposure to air.
However, this protection can be overwhelmed by infections by bacteria, virus and chlamydial which could lead to inflammation of the conjuctiva. The protective design could also be disrupted by allergens. Allergens are foreign bodies that could initiate a hypersensitivity reaction in the eye. This could result to red eyes. Examples of allergens are: grass pollens, chemicals in your perfumes, dust, glass particles, e.t.c.
Conditions that could cause red eyes
This is the most common form of red eyes. The conjunctiva is a structure in the eye, a transparent membrane which lines the posterior surface of the eyelids and anterior aspect of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, also known as “Pink eye” “Red eye” “Apollo.” However, it can be defined as conjunctiva redness associated with a discharge which may be watery, mucoid, mucopurulent or purulent. It can be contagious (spreads rapidly in schools and day care) or allergic.
Dry eye syndrome
This condition is common among persons above age 50; it’s characterized by insufficient volume of tear in the eye, lack of good tear quality and rapid dryness of tear in the eyes. Individuals suffering from dry eye, complain about itching, grittiness, red eyes, and general ocular discomfort.
When a foreign body is embedded in the eye, it triggers eye redness, excessive tearing, pain associated with movement of the eye, blurred vision and photophobia. The patient may be aware of the foreign body which has entered the eye or it may have occurred unnoticed during an activity such as chiseling, hammering, grinding metal or mowing the lawn.
Injury to the eye could also trigger redness of the eye while, profuse watery discharge; pain and abnormal sensitivity to light are eminent of an eye trauma. Eye injury can occur due to an accidental scratch, e.g. with a fingernail or while removing or inserting contact lenses, or by rubbing the eye.
If you have any positive answer to these questions, then, a visit to your eye doctor is inevitable.
• Is there persistent grittiness and itching?
• Is there frequent pain in the eyes?
• Is there discharge (watery or mucous)?
• Is there reduced vision?
• Is there abnormal sensitivity to light?