26 Science-Backed Remedies to Get Rid of Red Eyes

This guide is a comprehensive source of information for anyone looking to treat their red eyes at home.

Not only does this guide tell you when it’s necessary to contact a doctor, but it also provides a list of home remedies that are highly effective for treating red eyes.

In addition, the guide provides you with information about how you can prevent red eyes from recurring.

And reading the guide will give you some ideas about what might be causing your red eyes.

Therefore, it’s essential that you read the entire article.

 

Why You Get Red Eyes?

Red eyes are caused by an expansion of blood vessels in the eyes.

This gives them a “bloodshot” appearance. There are a variety of conditions that can cause red eyes.

Here are some examples of common causes:

  • Medication side effects
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Exposure to pool chlorine
  • Smoke exposure
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Exposure to salt water
  • Excessive drinking
  • A popped blood vessel in the eye
  • Using too many eye drops
  • Dry eyes

In addition, there are potentially serious health concerns that can cause red eyes.

Here are some examples of these conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Pinkeye
  • An ulcer of the cornea
  • Uveitis: an inflammation of the eye’s uvea
  • Serious eye injuries
  • An infection of the cornea
  • A certain form of glaucoma
  • Episcleritis

 

How Can You Prevent Red Eyes?

The steps that are most effective to prevent red eyes depend on the condition that you have.

However, there are certain steps that you can take to prevent the most common causes of red eyes, as follows:

  • Avoid Irritating Environments: Avoid environments where there are high levels of smoke and/or other pollutants. In addition, take precautions to avoid being in close proximity to individuals suffering from pinkeye or other eye infections.
  • Monitor Your Intake of Substances that Can Cause Red Eyes: Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are among the most common causes behind red eyes. In addition, many recreational drugs can cause red eyes. Furthermore, there are some vitamins and supplements that can make you more likely to experience red eyes.
  • Lower Your Stress Levels: If you are under a lot of stress, you may be significantly more likely to experience red eyes. This is because stress can increase your blood pressure.
  • Pay Attention to Reduced Appetite: If you aren’t eating enough and have experienced red eyes, it may prevent their occurrence if you eat a healthy diet.
  • Avoid Extended Periods of Time where You Are Looking at Electronics: If you look at electronics for extended periods of time, it is essential to follow the 20/20 rule. It’s important to do something other than looking at an electronic screen for 20 seconds to a minute for every 20 minutes that you look at the screen. In addition, lowering the brightness of the screen can be helpful. Furthermore, you should consciously remind yourself to blink if you’re looking at an electronic screen for an extended period of time. You also should not sit too close to the screen. In fact, it is best to sit 20 to 40 inches away from the screen. One great way to do this is to adjust your electronic screen.
  • Consider Eyewear to Prevent Red Eye: If you spend a large amount of time in front of electronic screens, certain forms of eyewear may be the most effective way to prevent red eye. In some cases, it may be necessary to ask your eye doctor for a different eyeglasses prescription that can protect you from long periods of time in front of an electronic screen. There are certain tints of eyeglasses that can reduce eye strain.
  • Air Cleaners: If you are unable to quit smoking, or you live with someone who smokes, air cleaners can significantly reduce the level of smoke in the environment. There are many air cleaners to choose from, but it’s essential to ensure that you get an effective product.
  • Eat the Right Diet: There are several nutrients that can help to prevent red eyes. Some examples of these nutrients are Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-6, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly effective at protecting the eyes from the light that can cause bloodshot eyes. Vitamins C, E, and zinc are highly effective at protecting the eyes against problems that are caused by the aging process. Not only are vitamin B-2 and B-6 effective at preventing age-related eye problems, but they can help to prevent cataracts.
  • Sleep: It’s essential to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night.

 

Medications that Can Prevent Red Eyes

There are a number of over-the-counter medications that may prevent red eyes from recurring.

Here are some examples of these medications:

  • Antihistamines: If your red eyes are caused by allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines may be able to reduce this symptom or prevent the red eyes altogether.

 

Potential Problems with Red Eyes

There are a variety of problems that red eyes can lead to:

    • If you suffer from red eyes, an individual could mistakenly accuse you of drinking excessively or being under the influence of drugs.
    • Red eyes often lead to embarrassment in social situations.
    • Red eyes often cause itching that distracts from important tasks.

 

Symptoms that are Commonly Associated with Red Eyes

While this is not a complete list of symptoms that can be associated with red eyes, these are some examples:

    • Burning
    • Discharge or mucus in the eyes
    • Pain in the eye
    • Watery eyes
    • Crusting of the eyes during sleep
    • A gritty sensation in the eyes
    • Puffy eyelids
    • Nasal symptoms
    • Floating spots or strings in your vision
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Scaly skin on the eyelids
    • Headache
    • Fever
    • Drooping eyelid
    • Red spots inside the lower eyelid
    • Dizziness
    • Blurry vision
    • Sore throat
    • Numbness
    • Tingling
    • A sensation of something in the eye
    • Swelling of the eye
    • Frequent squinting
    • Blank stare
    • Bruising around the eye
    • Coughing
    • Fatigue
    • Jerking eye movements

 

When to Consult a Doctor?

These are some symptoms that require immediate medical attention when combined with red eyes:

    • Sudden changes in vision
    • Severe headache
    • Eye pain
    • Sensitivity to light
    • A blank stare
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Halos around lights
    • A feeling of something in your eye
    • Swelling in or around your eyes
    • An inability to keep your eye open
    • The cause of the red eyes is a chemical or foreign object
    • Fever

Even if you do not experience any of these especially serious symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor if your red eyes last for several days or longer.

This is especially true if you have pus or a mucus discharge along with your red eyes.

If you are experiencing red eyes following an eye injection or eye surgery, it is essential to contact your physician right away.

 

Home Remedies for Red Eyes

 

There are numerous home remedies that can alleviate red eyes.

Here are some of the most effective ones.

 

Alternate Warm and Cold Compresses

If you’re wondering how to get rid of red eyes as fast as possible, this may be the best method for you.

While a cold compress can be effective for many people who are suffering from red eyes, this method is most effective for red eyes that are accompanied by the following symptoms:

    • Redness around the eye
    • Swelling
    • Pain
    • Stinging
    • A burning sensation

Follow these steps to ensure that the cold compress is as effective as possible for your red eyes:

  • Ensure that the Compress is Prepared Properly

Wrap ice in a towel or cloth (1). You also can fill a plastic bag with ice.

If the eye redness is caused by ocular allergies, you may be able to use a facecloth soaked in cold water.

Furthermore, it’s important never to use a cold compress if an injury to the eye itself may have occurred.

Always ensure that the cold compress is not cold enough to cause any discomfort.

  • Place the Cold Compress on Your Eyelid(s)

Always make sure that you completely cover your eyelid(s) with the cold compress.

If you’re using a cold water compress, it’s essential to resoak it periodically.

  • Never Leave the Cold Compress on for More than 20 Minutes
  • Re-Apply the Cold Compress

If there is swelling, re-apply the cold compress after two hours.

And you should place the compress on the eyelid of the affected eye for 20 minutes every two hours.

This should be continued for a period of three days.

If there isn’t swelling, it can be effective simply to leave the cold compress on for a couple of seconds.

  • Use a Warm Compress

Dip a towel or washcloth in warm water before applying it to your eyelid(s).

Wring the cloth to ensure that you get rid of any extra water.

Leave the warm towel or washcloth on your eyelid(s) for 5-10 minutes. Then, repeat the process.

Rub the cloth on your eyelid(s) to remove crusts.

After you remove the warm compress, you can use baby shampoo to remove any remaining crusts from your eye(s) (2).

In addition, remove crusts from your eyelashes (3).

 

Drink Plenty of Water

Not only can drinking plenty of water get rid of red eyes that are caused by dehydration but being well hydrated can help to reduce the severity of red eyes from other causes.

It’s recommended that you drink about 8 glasses of water per day.

However, some people require larger or smaller amounts of water than this.

Here are some things to consider to help you determine the amount of water that you should be drinking per day:

    • Your Exercise Level: In addition to consuming about 8 glasses of water per day, you should always drink water before, during, and after an exercise session.
    • The Weather: If you are outdoors during hot or humid weather, you should drink more water than you would otherwise. In addition, it’s essential to drink more water than usual if you’re outdoors during extremely cold conditions.
    • Elevation: If you’re traveling to an area that’s at a high elevation or reside in such an area, you should consume more water per day.
    • Illness: If your red eyes occur during a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, it will be essential to drink more water than usual.
    • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you’re pregnant, you should drink around 10 glasses of water per day. If you’re breastfeeding, you should drink about 13 glasses of water per day.

 

Eye Drops with Cold Milk

The amino acids in milk are highly effective at reducing the red eyes that are caused by an eye infection (4).

Follow these steps to use milk most effectively for your red eyes:

1. Use a cotton pad and soak it in cold, raw milk.

2. Rub the cotton pad on your eyes for 15 minutes two times per day.

(optional) 3. Mix honey and milk.

(optional) 4. Put 2-3 drops of the honey and milk mixture in each eye.

 

Eye Drops with Salt Water

In order to make saltwater eyedrops, you need to boil the water first.

Then, you put a tablespoon of salt in it.

Wash out your eyes with this mixture a few times each day over the course of two or three days.

Continue to do this until your red eyes have gone away (5).

 

Tea Bags

While there are many types of tea bags that you can use, chamomile tea bags are thought of by many people as the most effective irritated eye home remedy (6).

Chamomile is effective against some types of infection as a result of tannins that are present in the herb, but the tannins are found in many other teas as well (7).

Follow these steps to use effectively tea bags for your red eyes:

1. Refrigerate the tea bags.

2. Place the tea bags over your eyelid(s).

 

Cucumber

In order to use cucumber as an effective irritated eye home remedy, place cucumber slices over the affected eye(s) after soaking them in cold water for ten minutes.

Keep your eyes closed while you keep the cucumber slices on your eyelid(s).

The slices of cucumber should be placed on your closed eyelid(s) for ten minutes.

Cucumber has anti-inflammatory properties due to their cooling effect (8,9).

 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can be effective against eye redness, due to its antibacterial properties (10).

However, it can also be effective for eye redness that’s not caused by an infection, due to its anti-inflammatory properties (11).

Here are the steps to use aloe vera most effectively:

1. Mix two or three tablespoons of aloe vera with a tablespoon of honey and half a cup of elderberry blossom tea.

2. Then, rinse your eyes with this mixture twice a day.

 

Bilberry

Bilberry has a lot of antioxidants and flavonoids.

The active components in it help to increase blood flow in blood vessels around the eyes (12).

There even is evidence that it’s effective against certain retinal disorders (13).

Here’s how to use it most effectively:

    • Take bilberry tablets. However, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before you try this.
    • Put bilberry extract in your eyes two times a day. You should do this twice a day until the redness goes away.

 

Goldenseal Leaves

Goldenseal is especially effective for treating eye redness that is caused by an infection, and it has been used in traditional medicine for this purpose (14).

This is due to the fact that it contains a chemical called berberine (15).

In order to use it most effectively, mix two tablespoons of goldenseal in a cup of water.

Then, you strain the mixture and rinse your eyes with it when it’s cool.

You also can use a goldenseal tincture as eye drops (16).

 

Cold Water

Cold water can be highly effective at reducing the severity of red eyes (17, 18).

Furthermore, it’s quite simple to use cold water to treat your red eyes.

In fact, all you need to do is splash some of it on your eyes.

However, cold water can also be added to a towel or washcloth to create a cold compress.

 

Raspberry Leaves

Apply it as a cold compress. Keep this cold compress on your eyes for 10-15 minutes.

Do this each day over a period of 2-3 days.

 

Eyebright

As the name suggests, eyebright has been used in traditional medicine for centuries for the treatment of eye problems (19).

It has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Methanolic extracts of the herb are thought to be especially effective.

These products can be purchased at many stores.

 

Chamomile Tea

You can make chamomile tea by mixing chamomile flowers in a cup of water and boiling it (20).

Then, you strain the mixture. Cool the tea before using it to rinse your eyes each day (21).

You also can use tincture of chamomile.

In order to use chamomile tincture, mix 12 drops of it into a cup of water and wash your eyes.

It is highly effective at treating the red eyes that are caused by infection (22).

 

Castor Oil

Place a drop of castor oil on each eye every day.

Do this until the redness fades away.

Castor oil contains a variety of compounds that effectively reduce redness and inflammation.

This remedy has been used for centuries to treat red eyes and other conditions that are caused by inflammation.

Do this for three days, or until the redness is gone.

 

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a strong astringent. This means it will reduce swelling and redness (23).

It’s best applied as a cold compress.

In order to apply it, you dip cotton balls in it and hold them in your eyes for 10-15 minutes.

In addition, witch hazel can be used to wash your eyes (24).

 

Cold Bread

Frozen bread works the same as cold compresses, and it’s best to place it directly over your eyelids.

It constricts your eye’s blood vessels to reduce redness. You can use any kind of bread.

 

Baking Soda

In order to apply baking soda, mix 1/4 of a teaspoon of the powder in 1/2 a cup of water.

Then, rinse your eyes with the mixture.

Keep your eyes open while you’re rinsing them.

This is especially effective if the cause of your eye redness is an infection.

 

Fennel Seeds

You can eat raw fennel seeds to improve the health of your eyes.

Or, they can be applied directly to your eyes in order to reduce redness and swelling.

To do this, you need to boil half a tablespoon of the seeds in a cup of water for about 25 minutes.

Then, strain and cool this mixture. Rinse your eyes with the water.

 

Chilled Spoons

Chilled spoons do the same thing as cold compresses.

In order to apply them, place four steel spoons in the refrigerator, in a glass of ice water, or in a bowl with ice cubes.

Then, you put a spoon over each eyelid.

After the spoons on your eyes begin to warm up, place the steel spoons on your eyelids that are being cooled.

Then, place the other set of spoons in the fridge, ice water, or ice cubes.

Repeat this cycle until the swelling and redness is gone.

However, it’s important not to leave the steel spoons on your eyelids for more than 20 minutes at a time.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

The active ingredient in apple cider vinegar is malic acid.

This compound can effectively reduce inflammation and treat the infection (25).

In order to use apple cider vinegar, mix a tablespoon of it in a cup of water.

Then, dip a cotton ball in the mixture. Use the cotton ball to clean your eyes.

 

Vegetable Juice

Two of the best vegetable juices for red eyes are carrot juice and spinach juice.

These juices contain high levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene.

In addition, they have high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein.

These compounds effectively reduce infection and promote general eye health (26).

All you need to do to receive the benefits of vegetable juice is drink it.

It’s best to drink vegetable juice fresh.

 

Fenugreek

Grind them into a smooth paste. Close your eyes and apply the paste.

Leave the paste on for 15-20 minutes before washing it off.

Do this each day for 2-3 days.

You also can wrap the seeds in a cloth and apply the cloth to the skin (27).

 

Apply Raw Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain exceptionally large amounts of vitamin E.

This vitamin is an antioxidant that helps to ensure that your eyes remain healthy (28).

If you want to use potatoes to treat your red eyes, first you need to slice or grate them and place them in the refrigerator.

Then, place them on your eyelids.

The best time to apply them is before you go to sleep.

 

Eat the Right Foods

Here are the nutrients that are most effective at treating red eyes, and where you can find them:

    • Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids (29,30): these fatty acids are found in nuts, salmon, and flax seeds.
    • B-2 and B-6: These vitamins are found in dairy products, eggs, fresh vegetables, sunflower seeds, whole cereals, turkey, yogurt, and asparagus.
    • Vitamin C, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin E, and Zinc: These nutrients can be found in broccoli, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, cabbage, cantaloupe, spinach, and celery.

 

Reduce Use of Electronic Screens

Reducing the amount of time you spend in front of an electronic screen can get rid of red eyes.

This is because looking at electronic screens for a long period of time can cause your eyes to become dry (31).

Here are some things that you should do to reduce your exposure to bright screens if you have red eyes:

    • Ensure that your eyes are level with the screen you’re looking at. In order to do this, you may have to adjust the level of your seat.
    • Use anti-glare glasses that are designed to protect your eyes from monitor reflection.
    • Ensure that your eyes are at least 20 or 30 centimeters away from the monitor.

 

Rose Water

Rose water has properties that fight infection and inflammation (32, 33).

It’s highly effective as an eye drop.

In order to use rose water eye drops, you soak cotton balls in the rose water.

Then, you place the cotton balls over your eyelids. Leave them there for 15 minutes each day.

Do this two times a day until the redness is gone.

You also can place cucumber slices in rose water before applying them, or apply 2 or 3 drops of rose water directly to your eyes.

 

Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re suffering from red eyes, you should do the following things:

    • Get enough sleep every night. Rest helps the eyes to retain moisture.
    • Wear goggles while outdoors or driving. This will protect your eyes from sunlight (34).
    • Always make sure that the humidity in your home is under 50%. This will help to keep mold from growing.
    • Wash your hands regularly (35).

If you’re suffering from red eyes, you should not do any of these things:

    • Never rub your eyes for any period of time. This can cause further irritation (36).
    • Don’t go into a polluted environment. This also can cause further eye irritation.
    • If you suffer from pet allergies, it’s important that you do not allow any pets into your home.

 

Conclusion

While red eyes are an annoying condition, there are ways that you can treat them easily and with little chance of suffering from any serious side effects.

In most cases, your red eyes will clear up within a few days of trying one or more of the home remedies that are listed here.

However, it is exceptionally important to ensure that you avoid doing anything that can aggravate your red eyes and that you follow all of the essential steps to reduce this symptom.

It’s important to note that the best results are often attainable by trying multiple of the remedies listed here rather than just one.

If your red eyes do not go away within a few days, it’s likely that a doctor will be able to treat the problem quickly.

There are many prescription medications available that can treat red eyes.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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  1. Harvey Lee

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