Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

What Your Eyes Say About Your Health

By Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD

Do you ever look in the mirror and see that your eyes are red? Or droopy? Or extra crusty?

Sometimes a cold compress and a trip to the drug store are all you need. Other times, it's a good idea to see your doctor.

How can you tell the difference? A sneak peek at some common conditions will help you know if it’s something minor or worth a second look.


“I think the most common eye problem people experience is a red eye,” says Rebecca J. Taylor, MD, an ophthalmologist in Nashville, TN. “A red eye with a blotch of blood on the white part of the eye may look really scary, but it’s usually just a bruise under the surface of the eye. We call it a subconjunctival hemorrhage." It should clear up in a few weeks, she says.

If both eyes are red, itchy, and watery, that could just be allergies, Taylor says. Over-the-counter artificial tear drops will help with moisture, and antihistamine eye drops should stop the itch. If you’ve got these symptoms, most commonly they're caused by environmental (seasonal) allergies, but they could mean you’re allergic to a product you used. Call your doctor if you’re not better in 10 days.


Your doctor may call this acute conjunctivitis. It's itchy and red, and oozes white or yellow discharge. “Typically it is viral and lasts a week to 10 days. It can start in one eye and go to the other eye. A runny nose and cold symptoms are also very common,” Taylor says.

If you think you’ve got it, call your doctor to be sure. Just in case, it can be very contagious, so wash your hands frequently and don’t share towels or washcloths. Some conditions, like dry eye disease or an eye infection, look a lot like conjunctivitis. Your doctor will know the difference and how to treat it.

Dry Eye

Blame this common problem on your environment, hormonal changes, or your daily routine. “People who stare at the computer, cell phones, books, or the TV for long periods of time may be very uncomfortable toward the end of day, because they are not blinking enough,” Taylor says.

Moisten your eyes with some artificial tears from your local drugstore. Use them a couple of times a day. See your doctor if that doesn’t work. Some conditions, like certain forms of arthritis, are linked to dry eyes. Other medicines you take could cause it, too.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop