Redness of eyes is a common symptom as well a sign of an eye ailment or insult.

It can be caused by inflammation, allergy, eye fatigue, lack of sleep, excessive screen time, exposure to certain radiations, a blood clot or even a foreign body.

While the primary cause needs to be identified, addressed suitably and managed, there is a need to reduce the redness by supportive means. Primarily it is for social reasons as people one interacts with want to know the reason and keep away if it is potentially infectious! Wearing shades may not always be possible especially when you have client discussions in office. Wearing a shade inside the office itself keeps people away from the person. It is not easy to dispel fears of people around when one moves around with red eyes.

Not all cases of red eyes can have a magical de-congestion of eyes, especially if there is blood under the conjunctiva of the eye. However there are some general measures to decrease the redness:

(1) Keep the environment pleasant for the eyes

Environmental management is the most neglected component but is probably the most important as well. An ambient temperature around 24 degree Celsius and a relative humidity around 62% gives comfort to the eyes and reduces redness. There should not be any direct flow of air on to the eyes that may irritate the eyes and increase tear film instability. A humidifier may be required in summers to achieve this in summer months. Air cons do not have sufficient humidity control.

(2) Cold Compresses

There are gel packs available for the purpose and help in soothing the angry eyes.

Do not use ice cubes directly as the melting water is hypo-tonic and increases swelling. Put them in a polythene bag if no other option is available. Slices of cold cucumber serve the purpose readily.

Some people use Eue de Cologne soaked cloth pieces which is fine but then no chemical should enter the eye as it may aggravate the redness.

(3) Decongestant Eye Drops

This must be discussed with your doctor at the outset.

These drops blanch the superficial blood vessels of the eyes for 6 to 8 hours within a couple of minutes of instillation. There is rebound redness once the effect is gone. The timing of eye drops can be judiciously managed to keep the eyes white during the waking hours as per the engagements.

(4) Lubricating Eye Drops

Preservative free lubricating eye drops may be used liberally as they reduce irritation by providing a cushion effect. They provide comfort during blinking and reduce the friction related inflammation. It is good to put them on the door side of refrigerator for additional cooling effect.

Other quick tips to reduce the redness of the eye that you can practice daily are:

  • Sleep adequately
  • Eat balanced diet
  • Reduce screen time
  • Hydrate your body well
  • Take regular breaks while working on screens
  • Lubricate eyes and blink consciously