Redness of eyes is an important clinical sign of many underlying clinical problems that can be grouped under the following heads:

  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Immunoinflammations
  • Foreign Bodies on the surface of the eye
  • Dry Eye Disease, Ocular fatigue
  • The increase in the pressure of the eyes etc.

Needless to say that the Primary Cause of redness needs to be addressed in order to reduce the redness of the eyes.   

However, there are a few tips that can give additional relief to a patient and also increase the effect of other medications and sometimes reduce the frequency as well.

  1. Clean eyes in running tap water or filtered water. It should be cool, not cold. Temperature around 20 degrees is most comforting.
  2. Use shades when going out in the open. Ultra Violet light absorbing glasses are most suitable.  Polarised lenses may be used to reduce glare in the case of glare intolerance.  Full face helmets while riding two wheeler vehicles is recommended.  Keep the air con going for a minute before you enter a car and pull up all the windows while riding.  Always wash air con condenser tubes under pressure every morning when a car is being cleaned.    
  3. Cold compresses help soothe eyes. The cool  patch may be put over the eyes after cleaning them in running water.  Cucumber slices may be placed over the eyes or ice cubes in small polythene bags may be used instead.  Avoid ice cubes wrapped in cloth as it increases swelling due to hypotonic water entering the eyelids.  Some people like to keep a moist tissue paper over the face with eyes closed and an even clean cloth soaked in water with a few drops of Eu de cologne for cooling.    
  4. Environmental Management. This accounts for half the part of managing a patient.  The ambient temperature of 24 to 26 D Celsius and a relative humidity of around 62% gives a comfortable environment and reduces redness. Avoid direct flow of air to the eyes as it increases evaporation losses. Avoid use of room fresheners sprays, mosquito repellent fumes and smoke, carpet cleaning shampoos etc in the presence of people having red eyes.  Vacuum cleaning along with air exchanges is important to reduce chemical and particle load.
  5. Lubricating Eye DropsOnly "Preservative Free" lubricating drops may be used and they are available OTC.  Astringent, blanching drops may not be used without doctor's approval as they can cause a rebound increase in redness of the eyes.  Keep the eye drops on the door side in a refrigerator.

Always discuss the primary disease thoroughly with your doctor before taking any liberty of using any of these tips.