It’s that holly jolly time of year—where everywhere you look you see red and green. And while red may be the perfect color for your favorite holiday sweater and festive décor, it’s the last color you want to see in your eyes. That’s right—we’re talking about bloodshot eyes. Between allergies, lack of sleep or just plain exhaustion from looking at a screen all day, it’s hard to avoid tired-looking eyes.
While you may reach for eye drops as your go-to source for soothing relief, you may actually be doing more harm than good. In fact, many studies have shown that redness-reducing eye drops only treat the symptoms of bloodshot eyes by constricting the blood vessels to make them less visible. Over time, using these eye drops too frequently can cause your eyes to develop a dependency which may cause blood vessel swelling to worsen.
So, instead of reaching for eye drops as often as you reach for lip balm, here are some alternative ways to reduce redness all while keeping your eyes healthy and happy.
Use artificial tears instead. Often, bloodshot eyes are simply the result of dryness and can be relieved through the application of moisture rather than medicated drops. Artificial tears provide a safer way to lubricate your eyes, just be sure to certain brands that may use harmful preservatives.
Take a break from screens. When you stare at screens for extended periods of time, there is a tendency to blink less which only leads to dryness and strain. When working or staring at screens for extended periods, be sure to take small breaks to avoid overstressing your eyes.
Try using a humidifier. Again, dryness is often the primary culprit when it comes to bloodshot eyes. Whether your eyes are taking a beating from the warm, heated air or the dry, winter air, humidifiers can go a long way in keeping your eyes hydrated and free from irritation.
Drink more water. When your body is dehydrated, water content throughout the body decreases dramatically. Of course, the eyes are one of the first places affected. While bloodshot eyes may be the least of your concerns when you’re dehydrated, proper water intake can go a long way in preventing irritated eyes.
Apply cool compress to the eyes. When your eyes are irritated, cold packs can help decrease the size of the blood vessels in your eyes. Whether it’s from dryness, strain or other irritants, swollen blood vessels are ultimately what causes that dreaded redness.
Check your medications. Sometimes bloodshot eyes can actually be a side effect of certain medications. While this may be the case for some prescriptions used to treat chronic conditions, the most common cause is over-the-counter antihistamines and cold medicines. These medications work to dry out the sinuses which can often result in dry, irritated eyes.
Still struggling to find redness relief?
More often than not, bloodshot eyes are simply the result of common irritants that many people experience on a daily basis. Whether it’s allergies, seasonal dryness or strain, we’ve all experienced red, tired eyes. But, this doesn’t make it any less of a nuisance.
So, if you find yourself reaching for drops daily, it may be a sign of an underlying condition, severe allergies or an infection. That’s why the experts of Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care are prepared to help. With a wide variety of services, up-to-date technology and the latest treatment options, your eyes can finally find the lasting relief they need.