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No one likes looking in the mirror to find red eyes, looking back. Typically, it’s nothing to worry about — often just a harmless reaction to dust or allergens. But that’s not always the case. There are times when inflamed eyes are a signal that you need a doctor’s attention right away.

How can you tell the difference between common, benign reasons for irritation and more unusual, concerning problems?

“There are really three important symptoms that should make someone seek attention if their eyes are bothering them,” says ophthalmologist Richard Gans, MD. “If, besides redness, there is  pain, extra light sensitivity or blurred vision, patients should get it checked out.”

He outlines five conditions that can cause people’s eyes to become irritated and red:

1. Allergies and dry eye

Some eye irritants exacerbate the effect of others on your eyes. For instance, if you have chronic dry eye, your eyes are much more likely to react to allergens. Having less of that protective tear film makes them more susceptible to surface irritants, Dr. Gans says.

The good news is that over-the-counter lubricating drops can make your eyes feel better, sometimes within minutes. Allergy drops can help reduce symptoms as well.

Dr. Gans “gently cautions” against using eye drops that claim to reduce redness, however.

They clear your eyes by shrinking surface blood vessels. But when they begin to wear off a rebound effect can occur. The blood vessels dilate even more and you need to use more drops to clear them again.

“You can get into a vicious cycle where you can’t get off the drops,” he says.

2. Broken blood vessels

Broken blood vessels on the eye’s surface (subconjunctival hemorrhage) may sound alarming, but they typically are painless and tend to clear up within a couple weeks without any treatment.

“There is no impact on your vision,” Dr. Gans says. “They are not worrisome, so just leave them alone and they will get better by themselves.”

Possible causes include:

  • Trauma.
  • A rapid increase in blood pressure.
  • Blood thinners.
  • Eye surgery.

3. Pink eye

Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye occurs when viruses, bacteria or irritants such as chlorine cause inflammation and infection of the mucous membrane lining in the eyes.

Symptoms include itching, swelling, discharge and burning.

The condition can go away on its own. But, because it’s sometimes contagious, it’s probably best to see your doctor for medications you need to treat it. It can remain contagious for several days after exposure to the infection, Dr. Gans says.

4. Infection

Pain, light sensitivity and blurred vision are sometimes a sign of serious infection. You need to see a doctor within a couple of days, Dr. Gans says.

Bacteria, viruses, allergies, fungus or parasites (usually waterborne) all can cause infection.

If you wear contacts, and you suspect you have an infection, get to your doctor immediately. Untreated infections can cause erosion on the eye’s surface that can permanently damage your eyes.

“Contact lenses can cause infections and the chemicals used to sterilize them can cause irritation,” Dr. Gans says. “Contacts are a major source of potential infections that require immediate treatment.”

5. Uveitis

This condition also can produce unusual symptoms including light sensitivity, blurred vision and pain. It occurs when the iris and eye’s lining become inflamed. Without treatment, uveitis can cause vision loss, glaucoma or cataracts, so see your ophthalmologist right away.

If you experience any dryness, redness or unusual symptoms in your eyes for more than a day or so, see your eye doctor, Dr. Gans advises. An ophthalmologist can determine whether allergies, an infection or a more serious issue is at work.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-your-eyes-red-5-common-reasons-remedies/

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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