Red eye and dry eye syndrome look remarkably similar. Both present with itchy, dry eyes that are reddish in hue. Many times a person who has dry eye syndrome will suffer for a long time thinking that their red, dry, itchy eyes are a product of something minor such as allergies or fatigue, before realizing that their eyes are not getting better and they should see their eye doctor about it. This is surprisingly common. Fortunately, Drs. Luke and Gina Small of Armstrong and Small Eye Care Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba are experts in treating dry eye syndrome and are happy to share information that may help you recognize this uncomfortable and painful eye condition sooner.
Red eyes occur when your eyes are irritated by allergens in the air or substances in your body, causing the tiny blood vessels in your eyes to become inflamed, enlarged and, consequently, much more visible. This is where the reddish hue that gives red eyes their name comes from.
Dr. Luke Small comments, “Red eyes can sometimes look scary, but generally are not much to worry about overall. In the vast majority of cases, red eyes will resolve themselves without any medical attention. Red eyes linked to allergies will disappear as soon as the offending substance is no longer nearby and those linked to substances in your body such as prescription or recreational drugs will disappear soon after the substance leaves the body. Even red eyes linked to eye infections such as conjunctivitis will disappear with little or no medical attention, albeit much slower than with allergies, taking as much as a few weeks to go back to normal.
Dr. Gina Small explains, “As opposed to regular red eyes, dry eye syndrome will not go away without significant medical intervention. This extremely uncomfortable eye condition is caused in one of two ways. Either the eyes are unable to make enough tears to comfortably hydrate the eye, or the tears that are produced are flawed in that they lack one or more essential parts that normally allow tears to properly coat and hydrate the eye.”
Since dry eye syndrome is an incurable condition, dry, uncomfortable eyes are a recurring problem for those with this eye condition. Fortunately, eye doctors have developed a special type of eye drop, called artificial tears, that specifically address the issues created by dry eyes. These special tears are made to imitate, as closely as possible, real tears that a healthy eye would produce naturally. Since dry eye syndrome comes from a number of different causes, there are several different formulations of artificial tears to address each cause. Some will help to replace the tears not being produced at all by your eyes, to address the issues of dry eye syndrome in which not enough tears are being produced, while others will address one or more of the parts of a tear that helps to coat the eye, to address the issues of dry eye syndrome that stem from this shortcoming.
Drs. Luke and Gina Small are experts in dry eyes and red eyes and are happy to help identify and treat whatever your condition may be. Contact them at Armstrong and Small Eye Care Center today.