Red eyes are commonly caused by dryness, allergens, infection or tiredness. Most people seek relief with over-the-counter eye drops, but are they the appropriate remedy? Eye drops packaged as ‘relief for red eyes’ can actually worsen your condition. Commercial eye drops are decongestants, which shrink the outer blood vessels in the whites of your eyes. They decrease the redness, but dry out the eyes. Eventually, the redness comes back and more decongestant drops are used, developing a dependency on the drops to reduce redness. Additionally, decongestants mask the underlying cause of redness.
Should symptoms persist, you may have an infection or conjunctivitis, which will need a prescription. Do not self medicate. It is vitally important to have your optometrist evaluate your eyes to determine the underlying problem, obtain the suitable medication, and apply proper treatment.