How to Get Rid of a Red Eye

Have you ever looked in a mirror and noticed that your eyes were red? Whether you’ve been staring at a computer or TV screen for too long or are suffering from allergies, red eyes can be painful and ugly. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the irritation and swelling. Eye redness usually goes hand-in-hand with dry eyes, so treatments address both issues.

 Getting Rid of Red Eyes

  1. Do your research on eye drops. There are many different types of eye drops, each one recommended for different circumstances. For example, if you have red eyes and wear contact lenses, a blood vessel constricting drop may not work. It wouldn’t be able to get through the lens to treat your redness.
    • Most eye drops work by constricting the blood vessels in the eyes. By making the blood vessels smaller, they reduce eye redness.
    • Always use the drops as recommended, since overuse can cause more problems. For example, “rebound redness” happens with the eye drops make your blood vessels dilate more than usual. This makes your eyes look bloodshot.
  2. Consult your eye care professional. The best way to choose the right drops is to talk to you a specialist about the cause of your redness. Let him or her diagnose you and choose the best treatment method.
    • If your redness is due to allergies, look for eye drops with antihistamines.
    • If you have an infection, see your doctor for prescription eye drops that have antibiotics.
    • Be careful with “bacteria-fighting” eye drops. Many people have an allergic reaction to the preservatives in them. You might make your eyes even worse!
  3. Use water on your eyes. Cold water will decrease the swelling that causes bloodshot eyes, and will also soothe on your irritated eyes. You can just splash some cold water onto your face, or you might hold a damp compress over your eyes for 2 minutes.
    • The most common cause of red eyes is allergies. The body releases histamines that dry the eyes, causing blood vessels to swell.
    • Cold water reduces blood flow to the eyes and treats some of this inflammation.
  4. Use ice, if available. Ice or freeze-packs are another common and effective way to soothe bloodshot eyes. They work the same way cold compresses do, by relieving swelling and reducing the amount of blood flow to the eyes.
    • If you don’t have a freeze-pack, place some ice cubes in a clean washcloth. Hold it over your eyes for 4 to 5 minutes.
    • When using extremely cold products like ice or a freezer-pack, always protect your eyes with a thin cloth towel. This prevents ice burn.
  5. Place cucumber slices over your eyes. Just like cold compresses, refrigerated cucumber slices reduce redness and puffiness. The cucumber’s cold surface makes the eye’s blood vessels constrict, making them less visible.This also reduces the body’s natural response to allergens in the air.
    • Make sure the cucumber is cold by keeping it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing it.
  6. Apply rosewater to your eyelids. Rosewater’s lovely, relaxing scent alone will go a long way toward making you feel better. But it also has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities that will treat your irritated eyes.
    • Soak a cotton pad or cotton ball in rosewater and place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
    • Place them over your closed eyes for redness relief.
    • For an even better result, soak two cucumber slices in rosewater and refrigerate them. Place them on top of your eyelids and relax.
  7. Place used tea bags over your eyes. Tea has chemicals called “tannins” in it that reduce swelling and tighten the skin around the eyes. The caffeine in it also makes blood vessels smaller. As such, used tea bags are a great way to reduce redness and irritation. Make sure you’re using caffeinated black tea, as green teas don’t have tannins.
    • Steep the tea bag in hot water like you’re brewing a cup to drink.
    • Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to cool it down.
    • Place the tea bag over your eyelids for 4-5 minutes.
  8. Wait out a burst blood vessel. If you sneeze or cough too hard, or even just rub your eye vigorously, you can cause a blood vessel to burst. Doctors call this “subconjunctival hemorrhage.” In most cases, only one eye will be affected, and you won’t feel any pain. The blood vessel should heal itself naturally. It can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks.
    • See a doctor if you have any pain, or if you have a chronic disease like diabetes.
  9. See a doctor if you have pink eye. Just like its name says, pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis) causes your eye to look pink or red. Speak with your doctor immediately if you think you have pink eye. He or she can prescribe antibiotic eye drops or even oral pills, depending on the cause. Pink eye is contagious, so wash your hands with antibacterial soap, clean contact lenses well, and don’t rub your eyes. To make sure you have pink eye, check the following:
    • The dryness and redness is only in one eye, or at least began for the first few days as one-sided before spreading.
    • You recently had a viral or bacterial infection (i.e. ear infection, cold or flu)
    • You’ve been around someone who had pink eye recently.


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