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When Do Red Eyes Require Medical Attention?

We’ve all experienced bloodshot eyes after staying out too late or when having an allergic reaction to pollen, dander or some other environmental factor. But sometimes your red eyes may signify something more serious that requires medical attention. If you are experiencing any pain with your red eyes and over-the-counter eye drops are not helping, you may have one of these conditions:

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye): inflammation of the conjunctiva (thin membrane on your eye and in your eyelids) can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection
  • Blepharitis: inflammation of the eyelids leading to tearing, crusting or flaking
  • Stye: red-colored bump in or on the eyelid caused by an infected oil gland
  • Chalazion: a non-infectious stye that forms into a hard bump in the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland
  • Scratched cornea: abrasion on the outer surface of the eye caused by injury or foreign particles in the eye
  • Dry eye syndrome: eye irritation caused by quicker than normal evaporation of tears or failure of the eyes to produce sufficient tears

The treatment for these conditions may be as simple as performing eyelid hygiene at home or using medicated eye drops. The best way to find out is by scheduling an eye exam. If you are experiencing any eye irritation, be sure to stop wearing contact lenses. You may also want to discontinue the use of eye makeup until your condition improves.