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Should I call my doctor if my eyes are red?

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It’s usually nothing to worry about, as long as it only happens every now and then and doesn’t last long. You might find temporary relief in over-the-counter eye drops, such as tear substitutes that wash and moisten the eye. But a reaction to eye drops can actually cause more redness.

You should call a doctor if you also have:

  • A sudden change in vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sudden halos around lights
  • Severe headache, pain in the eye, or fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A foreign object or substance in your eye
  • Swelling in the eye
  • Inability to keep the eye open

SOURCES:

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Types of Allergies: Eye Allergy.”

National Eye Institute: “Facts About Dry Eye.”

Centers for Disease Control: “Pink Eye: Usually Mild and Easy to Treat.”

Mayo Clinic: “Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in eye).”

Mayo Clinic: “Symptoms: Red Eye.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “What Is Glaucoma?”

Reviewed by Whitney Seltman on April 16, 2020

SOURCES:

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Types of Allergies: Eye Allergy.”

National Eye Institute: “Facts About Dry Eye.”

Centers for Disease Control: “Pink Eye: Usually Mild and Easy to Treat.”

Mayo Clinic: “Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in eye).”

Mayo Clinic: “Symptoms: Red Eye.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “What Is Glaucoma?”

Reviewed by Whitney Seltman on April 16, 2020

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