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Dry Eyes vs. Red Eyes: What is the difference?

Dry Eyes and Red eyes seem like similar conditions and are related but also have many differences. Dry eyes are frequently symptomatic of more serious conditions whereas red eyes are common from a variety of causes, including as a symptom of dry eyes. Both conditions can be treated at Promontory Family Vision in Ogden, UT. Call us today to speak with one of our eye specialists, or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Ogden UT, Washington Terrace UT, Uintah UT, Harrisville UT, South Ogden UT and Roy, UT.

Dry Eyes vs. Red Eyes: What is the difference?
Dry Eyes vs. Red Eyes: What is the difference?

The condition of dry eyes is common in the United States with many Americans over the age of 50 regularly suffering from its effects. Red eyes are another similar condition that also affects many and is even more common than dry eyes. These are two separate conditions, but they are connected in some ways and completely different in others.

Do dry eyes cause red eyes?

Red eyes are a common symptom of dry eyes, with the eyes reddening and burning when suffering from dry eyes. However red eyes can also come from a completely unrelated source, such as a bacterial infection or foreign object trapped in the eye. While common treatments for red eyes can help reduce the unsightly appearance of a red sclera and inflamed veins it may not address the underlying cause of the dry eyes and the red eye symptoms may return in the future.

What does dry eye look like?

Dry Eye is characterized by symptoms which frequently appear in both eyes and often significantly impair vision and quality of life. Some symptoms include stinging and burning sensations in the eyes, a stringy mucus excreted from the eyes and a sensitivity to light.

Significant dry eye may also be indicative of Sicca Syndrome which causes extreme dryness in the exocrine glands and can be connected to more serious connective tissue disorders such as the common rheumatoid arthritis or in some cases lupus or scleroderma. Women are more frequently affected by Sicca Syndrome and Dry Eyes than men.

What is the fastest way to cure red eyes?

There are several varieties of over-the-counter eye drops that are effective in treating many of the symptoms of red eyes, if you have any questions about these be sure to discuss them with your doctor or optometrist to determine which of these products may work best for you.

Cold compresses can help deal with the burning and itching sensations that often come along with red and dry eyes, ensuring that they are not too cold to avoid causing pain to the patient. Warm compresses are often effective in dealing with mucus, helping to break it up and wipe it away, as well as providing relief for any swelling that may occur.

You should also avoid common eye irritants such as dust, pollen, or animal dander, if possible. This can help prevent additional red eye symptoms while you are trying to relieve your existing ones.

Most of the time red eye symptoms will go away on their own and are not serious. However, it is important to get dry eyes professionally diagnosed and treated if possible. Letting dry eyes remain untreated can lead to painful eye inflammation, corneal ulcers, damage to the surface of the eye or even possible vision loss.

Can stress cause red eyes?

Stress is not a common cause of red eyes though other effects of stress such as lack of sleep and lack of self care can result in red eyes.

Promontory Family Vision is experienced in diagnosing and treating most dry eye symptoms. Should you decide to visit us to deal with your dry eye, your doctor will perform an in-depth health history check, a comprehensive external eye examination, appraise the health of the eyelids and cornea, and may also require a measurement of your tears. Some of these methods involve a special dye that can help check for abrasions on the surface of the cornea as well a to properly determine the flow of your tears.

If you are in the Ogden, Utah area and are looking for friendly, professional care in dealing with your dry or red eye symptoms, please consider Promontory Family Vision and do not hesitate to contact our office and book an appointment as soon as possible.