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A red eye in the morning may not be as bad as you fear

By Judith Whitehead – Contributing Writer

Many of us wake up from a nights sleep with a bright red eye. The globe has turned red and if we hadn't looked in the mirror, we never would have known.

A red, non painful eye is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. These are spontaneous findings that many of us experience during our lifetime and are usually alarming but not dangerous.

A surface blood vessel has broken and looks serious. The redness may fill the whole conjunctiva or just part of it. It will take several days before it dissipates because the eye is so small that there is no place for the blood to move. The hemorrhage may even look worse after a few days but will lighten up in color.

A red, non-painful eye should return to normal after a few days, Judith Whitehead says.

What could the cause be? If someone has been sick with the cold or flu, the act of blowing the nose, having stomach problems or coughing can bring one on.

Also blood pressure may play a role in the redness. If blood thinners or blood pressure medications are taken, they may play a role as well.

Medications such as aspirin therapy and blood thinners can precipitate these findings. Also a simple rubbing of the eye or scratching it in your sleep may be the cause. In any event, there is nothing that can get rid of the unsightly red eye any quicker.

If your sight is fine and you are having no pain, discharge or itching , then sit back, relax and do not do strenuous activity for a while until it subsides.

If you continue to repeatedly get the “red eye,” report this to your primary doctor to go over your overall health.

If you must do something to self-treat this redness, use a cool compress, not heat, on the eye.

Remember it will look worse before it looks better as it spreads through the eye to dissipate.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.


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