Table of Contents
- What Causes Red Eyes?
- Symptoms of Red Eyes:
- Home Remedies for Red Eyes:
- 1. Warm compress
- 2. Cold compress
- 3. Punarnava (Hogweed)
- 4. Shigru (Drumstick)
- 5. Aparajita (Clitoria)
- When to Seek Medical Help:
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- What causes red eyes?
- Is a red eye a serious condition?
- What should I do if I have had eye redness for more than two days?
- Can I use a warm compress for a red eye?
- Is a cold compress a good option for a red eye?
- What are the home remedies for treating red eye?
- When should I meet a doctor if I have eye redness?
- Can contact lenses cause red eye?
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We have all experienced a red, itchy eye at some point in our lives. A red eye is generally used to describe irritated, red, and bloodshot eyes. Eye redness can be painful and extremely uncomfortable. A red eye is the first sign of eye inflammation.1 Red eyes may be relatively harmless and can easily improve with home remedies. However, if the red eye is accompanied by swelling, eye pain, light sensitivity, or blurry vision, you must immediately seek medical help. A red eye is the result of a reaction to something that irritates your eye. It can affect one or both eyes and might appear suddenly or progress with time; it can be due to eye injury or an allergic reaction to some foreign substance that entered your eyes. 2
What Causes Red Eyes?
Red eyes can occur due to several reasons. Sometimes, they can occur even due to daily habits like staring at your computer screen for too long without any break or wearing contact lenses for a prolonged hours. Other causes of red eyes include following underlying conditions:
- Blepharitis (inflamed eyelid)
- Dry eyes
- Glaucoma (increased blood pressure in the eyes)
- Conjunctivitis, also called as pink eye
- Eye injury
- Excessive alcohol use
Symptoms of Red Eyes:
Redness of eyes is itself a symptom as a result of some irritation. Signs and symptoms that may accompany a red eye include:
- Eye discharge
- Watering of eyes
- Change in vision
- Photophobia (eye discomfort in bright light)1
Also Read: Effective Home Remedies for Body Pain
Home Remedies for Red Eyes:
There are various home remedies for red eyes that you can use before rushing to a doctor. Sometimes gently washing the eyes, resting them, lightly massaging the eyelids, or using a compress for closed eyes might be enough to settle redness of eyes.2 Here are some hacks that you can use as home remedies for red eyes:
1. Warm compress
A warm compress might be beneficial for a red eye.1 You can place a damp, warm cloth over your eyes for a few mins. For this, soak a clean cloth in warm water and remove all the excess water from the cloth. Then place this damp cloth over your eyes and let it rest until the cloth becomes cool.3
2. Cold compress
Placing a cold compress over closed eyelids might be beneficial to lessen eye redness.2 You can soak a cloth in cold water and apply it gently over your eyes. You can also freeze a wet cloth and gently apply it over your eyes till it gets warm. The cold water reduce the inflammation along with providing a cooling effect.
3. Punarnava (Hogweed)
Take a few fresh leaves of punarnava and grind them into a fine paste. Now, apply this paste over closed eyes. This gives a cooling effect to the eyes4, and may be beneficial for reducing the inflammation and redness of eyes.
4. Shigru (Drumstick)
The leaves of the drumstick tree are mainly used for cooking and medicinal purposes, as they are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. The tree has anti-inflammatory properties and may be beneficial in eye problems.5 You can take the leaves of the drumstick tree and grind them to make a fine paste. You can apply this paste around closed eyes.4 The anti-inflammatory properties of drumstick might be beneficial to alleviate the redness.
5. Aparajita (Clitoria)
Aparijita, also called butterfly pea, is widely used as a medicinal plant in Indonesia. It is believed to have beneficial effects on health, particularly in conjunctivitis. It contains anthocyanins (flavonoid pigment found in plants) that might be a potential antibacterial agent.6 Also, the tree has anti-inflammatory properties7, which might help reduce inflammation. You can smash aparajita flowers with cow milk. Apply this paste over closed eyes. 4 The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties might help quickly overcome an eye infection and lower the inflammation.
You can also try these to get rid of a red eye:
- Avoid rubbing your eyes
- Avoid wearing eye makeup
- Avoid wearing contact lenses.3
Also Read: Natural Home Remedies for Food Poisoning
When to Seek Medical Help:
You must seek medical help when you:
- Have a red eye for more than 1-2 days
- Have nausea and vomiting
- Have a headache with confusion or blurred vision
- Are seeing rings around lights
- Have had an eye injury
- Have vision changes or eye pain
- Are sensitive to light
- Have greenish or yellowish discharge from your eye
- Have any foreign body in your eye8
Inflammation of the eye is the cause of a red eye. The eye inflammation may be relieved using some common home remedies easily available in your kitchen or garden compound. You can use home remedies like warm and cold compresses, or a paste of punarnava, shigru, and aparijita. These home remedies might help you get rid of red eyes. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor if the redness lasts beyond 1 or 2 days, or new symptoms develop.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What causes red eyes?
Red eyes can occur due to several reasons; it can be the smallest cause (contact lenses) to some severe conditions (blepharitis, allergies, dry eyes, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, eye injury). It can also be caused due to whitening eye drops, excessive alcohol use, or smoking.2
Is a red eye a serious condition?
Red eyes can occur due to several reasons, some serious, but most of them are nothing to be alarmed about. If the symptoms continue for more than 1 to 2 days, you must seek medical help and get an accurate diagnosis.8
What should I do if I have had eye redness for more than two days?
If the redness does not alleviate within 1-2 days8, you must seek medical help from a general phyisician or an ophthalmologist, who is a specialist eye doctor, as there might be some underlying medical condition responsible for the redness of your eyes.
Can I use a warm compress for a red eye?
Yes, you can use a warm compress for red eyes.1 For this, soak a clean washcloth in warm water, remove all the excess water from the cloth, lay this damp cloth over your eyes, and let it rest.3
Is a cold compress a good option for a red eye?
Yes, a cold compress may be used to relieve the redness in your eye.2 You can soak a cloth in cold water or freeze a wet cloth and gently apply it over your eyes.
What are the home remedies for treating red eye?
Home remedies for subsiding the redness in the eyes include warm or cold compresses, paste of punarnava leaves, or shigru leaves, or aparijita flower with cow milk.1-7
When should I meet a doctor if I have eye redness?
If you experience red eyes for more than 1-2 days, along with symptoms like nausea and vomiting, headache with confusion or blurred vision, rings around lights, an eye injury, have vision changes, eye pain, sensitivity to light, greenish or yellowish discharge from your eye, or any foreign body in your eye,8 you must immediately seek medical help.
Can contact lenses cause red eye?
Yes, there are chances that the redness in your eye is due to a contact lens. 3 Avoid using contact lenses for too long and consult your doctor if the redness doesn’t settle in a 1-2 hours.
1. Cronau H, Kankanala RR, Mauger T. Diagnosis and management of red eye in primary care. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(2):137–44. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20082509/
2. Red Eye [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. 2018. p. 1–9. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17690-red eye
3. Gudgel dan T. Pink Eye Home Remedies [Internet]. American Academy of Opthalmology. 2021. Available from: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/pink-eye-quick-home-remedies
4. AYUSH. Ayurveda Offering Herbal Healing [Internet]. 1–128 p. Available from: https://www.esic.nic.in/attachments/publicationfile/7d11b02e5abb4717d53b4ce05efabd21.pdf
5. Vergara-Jimenez M, Almatrafi MM, Fernandez ML. Bioactive components in Moringa oleifera leaves protect against chronic disease. Antioxidants. 2017;6(4):1–13. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5745501/
6. Anthika B, Kusumocahyo SP, Sutanto H. Ultrasonic Approach in Clitoria ternatea (Butterfly Pea) Extraction in Water and Extract Sterilization by Ultrafiltration for Eye Drop Active Ingredient. Procedia Chem. 2015;16(6):237–44. Available at: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Ultrasonic-Approach-in-Clitoria-ternatea-(Butterfly-Anthika-Kusumocahyo/58759ed026724bf4a9f60d1cf11f4728667b3b48
7. Mukherjee PK, Kumar V, Kumar NS, Heinrich M. The Ayurvedic medicine Clitoria ternatea-From traditional use to scientific assessment. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008;120(3):291–301. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18926895/
8. Eye Redness [Internet]. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. 2020. p. 1–4. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003031.htm
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.