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Red eyes or bloodshot eyes usually don’t mean anything serious and can occur due to simple reasons such as rubbing the eyes excessively, but in some cases, they can indicate health issues such as conjunctivitis.
The direct impact of having red eyes is that they can make you appear unwell or, even worse, hungover. They can cause discomfort as they’re often followed by itching, headache, pain, and even discharge.
Ophthalmologists explain that eye redness can be due to many factors such as your genetic makeup, medical history, past eye surgeries, excessive eye drop use, allergic response, bacterial infection, or other eye diseases.
In simple words, red eyes aren’t anything fun to deal with. However, if your red eyes are accompanied by blurred vision, pain, or sensitivity to light, seek professional help immediately. (1)
The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can manage red eyes at home with simple remedies.
Home Remedies for Red Eyes
Here are some natural ways to get rid of red eyes.
1. Use an ice-cold eye mask on your eyes
Red eyes can be due to many reasons such as infections and eye diseases and are often seen with other signs and symptoms including swelling, itching, and pain. In such cases, the age-old cold compress technique is useful.
Cold temperatures can help lessen redness and swelling in and around the eyes by lowering the inflammatory response. A study showed that when an ice-cold eye mask was used on eyes for 2 hours after surgery, the severity of inflammation was reduced. (2)
Another research concluded that cold compresses may be a feasible choice over artificial tears for those patients who suffer from dry eyes, which is one of the leading causes of red eyes.
Many people suffering from chronic dry eyes also have other conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis, which may also contribute to their eye symptoms. Cold compresses seem to alleviate some of the inflammation in such patients. (1)(3)
2. Apply rose water to the affected eye
Roses have also been utilized for therapeutic purposes for years and years. A myriad of products and isolated components from the flowers, petals, and seeds of the plant have been examined in a lot of research studies.
Rose water is a great product of the rose plant and contains 10%–50% rose oil. There has been a rise in the market of rose water eye drops that serve as a natural way of controlling and reducing eye inflammation, which is a cause of eye redness. According to a study, these eye drops can be good for treating conjunctivitis because of their anti-inflammatory effects. (4)
The effect of an herbal eye drop containing various herbs including rose water in people suffering from eye disorders such as conjunctivitis and dry eyes, which are the primary causes of red eyes, has been studied.
Since rose water has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory action, improvement has been seen in patients who received this herbal eye drop treatment. The study, therefore, concluded that rose water has a valuable role to play in many ophthalmic disorders. (4)
How to use rose water for your eyes:
- If you have dry eyes, put rose water drops onto the eye using a dropper.
- To alleviate eye redness and inflammation, keep your eyes closed for a few minutes after using the drops.
- You can also dip a cotton ball in rose water, and put it over your closed eyes for approximately 20 minutes.
3. Apply cooled tea bags to your eyes
Dry eyes are a fairly ordinary eye issue, especially in those who are more than 40 years old, and it is no secret that dry eyes are a major cause of eye redness. The good news is that a simple remedy may be available for this condition.
Green tea extract has antioxidative, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, because of which it has been deemed safe and effective as a topical treatment for treating mild dry eyes according to one study.
A research study done to evaluate the effectiveness of green tea extract on dry eyes showcased that the symptoms associated with this eye condition such as itching, burning, reduced vision, pain, photophobia, and redness were improved in patients who were treated using the green tea extract after a month. (5)
How to use green tea for your eyes:
- Make tea with 2 tea bags as you would generally do.
- Squeeze the extra tea from the bags after they’re done steeping.
- Leave the tea bags to cool down.
- Apply these cooled tea bags to closed eyes for 15–30 minutes.
4. Use cucumber slices on the affected eyes
Cucumber is a member of the same family as melons, squash, and pumpkins, known as the Cucurbitaceae family. It is a famous vegetable that has been used in Indian traditional therapy systems since ancient times.
You must have seen in movies and also in real life where people put cucumbers on their eyes as self-care. This is because of the relaxing and soothing properties of cucumber. Research shows that cucumber has cooling properties and is good for any kind of skin irritation.
Cucumbers are commonly used for many skin problems including swelling under the eyes, which is also seen in those who suffer from red eyes. Cucumber provides refreshing, emollient, and anti-itching effects on irritated skin. (6)
How to use cucumber for your eyes:
- Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry.
- Remove both ends of a cucumber, rinse it with water, and cut two slices.
- If you want, you can remove the skin.
- Lie down and close your eyes
- Place a slice of cucumber on both your eyes.
- Leave it on for a few minutes and relax.
5. Apply aloe vera
Aloe vera is a famous medicinal plant known for its many therapeutic properties and excellent anti-inflammatory activity that may be helpful in alleviating eye redness and other accompanying inflammatory signs.
In one research study, aloe vera in different solvents when used topically on human corneal cells showed the potential to be useful in treating inflammation and ophthalmic issues such as dry eyes and conjunctivitis, which are the leading causes of red eyes. (7)
How to use aloe vera for your eyes:
- Apply aloe vera gel to the outside of your eyelids to lessen any redness or swelling. Be cautious not to get the gel in your eyes.
- You can also mix aloe vera gel with an equal amount of water and soak a cotton ball in this mixture, which can then be applied to closed eyes.
How to Prevent Red Eyes
The eyes are a blessing and to be able to see is simply a gift. So, it is your responsibility to take care of them. (8)
Here are some expert tips to maintain eye health and prevent red eyes:
- Don’t rub your eyes.
- Wear clean contact lenses.
- Don’t wear contacts longer than recommended.
- Don’t watch TV or phone for long hours without a break.
- Wash your hands after coming in contact with someone who has an eye infection.
- Don’t go to sleep without removing your makeup.
- Avoid contact with things that may irritate your eyes.
- Wash your eyes with cold water if you face any eye irritation.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink plenty of water.
Most-Asked Questions About Red Eyes
How to know if my red eyes are from allergies?
Red eyes occur from allergies when you also experience the following other symptoms:
- Burning sensation
- Running nose
How to know if my red eyes are from dry eyes?
Red eyes occur from dry eyes when you also experience the following other symptoms: (9)
- Burning sensation
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- A feeling of having something in your eye
What can irritate the eyes to cause redness?
Your eyes are delicate parts of the body that can be easily irritated by small objects such as dust or smoke. Some common eyes irritants are:
- Chlorine water
- Pet dander
- Cigarette smoke
Can blinking help with eye health?
Regular blinking improves the flow of tears and keeps the eyes moist. It helps you get rid of any irritants so you don’t suffer from red eyes.
Can hypertension cause red eyes?
It is a possibility that your red eye may be a result of high blood pressure. (10) In such cases, it is better to get it evaluated if you also have other symptoms such as:
- Blurred vision
- Itchiness and pain
Can dry eyes lead to blindness?
Dry eyes do not commonly lead to blindness.
Redness of the eyes is a pretty common condition that you may have experienced at least once. Some people get red eyes after bathing, some may get it due to allergies, and some may suffer from it due to underlying health issues.
To avoid complications, it is best to rule out any serious condition by visiting a healthcare professional. Taking good care of your eyes is a must because the eyes are very sensitive organs. Sight is a gift of nature and should be attended to in healthy ways.