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Red Eyes Vs. Dry Eyes: A Slight Difference That Makes All The Difference

Many times red eyes are brushed off as little more than a minor, but annoying, symptom of allergies, fatigue or some other minor cause. In the majority of cases, a person is 100% correct in making such an assumption. However, it is important to note that red eye causes are not all exactly the same, and some are more serious than others. Dr. Jaime Gonzalez of Eye Pieces Dallas in Dallas, Texas explains, “Red, itchy eyes are almost always something minor. Although the rare serious cause for red eyes does come up, most red eyes, in general, rarely require any serious treatment, and often require none whatsoever. It is good to know, however, that in some cases, your red, dry eyes may indicate something more complicated and much harder to treat. This is dry eye syndrome, an extremely common, and none-too-comfortable eye condition that can cause a great deal of pain and inconvenience if not treated promptly and effectively.”

When your eyes begin to feel dry and itchy, and take on a “red” or “bloodshot” appearance, it is often because of an allergen or some other irritant, in the air or in your body, that has caused the tiny blood vessels in your eyes to become inflamed. Your eyes then take on a more reddish hue as a result of the expanded, and therefore more visible, blood vessels in the eye. If your red eyes are related to allergies, they should take almost no time to clear up after the allergen is removed. However, conjunctivitis and similar infections may take up to a few weeks for red eye symptoms to subside.

By contrast, dry eye syndrome generally requires some amount of special treatment in order to minimizes or eliminate the otherwise significant pain and discomfort that often characterizes this condition. Dry eye syndrome comes in two main categories:
The eye may be unable to produce the requisite amount of tears that the eye needs to be properly coated and protected. The eye then dries out for want of enough tears to keep the eye fully hydrated.
The eye may produce enough tears, but the tears lack one or more of the three ingredients of healthy tears that allow them to do their job (spreading over, sticking to and hydrating the eye).

The most effective solution for dry eye symptoms are special eye drops that are built to be as similar to natural tears as possible, in order to simulate the function of natural tears in a healthy eye. Called “artificial tears,” these special eye drops come in many varied formulations, depending on the underlying cause of dry eye symptoms. Some are formulated to help reduce the chronic shortage of real tears being produced by the eyes, while others assist by adding essential building blocks to your eyes which are lacking in the tears being produced.

For questions and more information, consult Dr. Gonzalez at Eye Pieces Dallas, today.