Do you see red when you look into the mirror? Are your eyes bloodshot? Red eyes are caused by small blood vessels on the surface of the eye that becomes enlarged with blood. The area of the eye that is white and can become red is called the sclera.
While your eyes can be an indicator of serious health problems, in general, red eyes are not necessarily something to be alarmed about. Here are 14 ways to clear up your sclera and get rid of those unattractive darkened bloodshot eyes.
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The Cause for Red Eyes
As you age it is more difficult to keep the white of your eyes (sclera) white, clear, and bright. Things that contribute to red eyes are:
- Poor Diet
- High Blood Pressure
- Dry Eye
- Digital Eye Strain
- Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis
If you are like me, you like to see the bright white around the iris (the eye color). The brighter the white of the eyes the more the color of the iris is enhanced.
How to Fix Red Eyes
1. Visit the Doctor
Let me responsibly say that I am not a doctor, I do not play a doctor on T.V., nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. You should schedule a comprehensive eye exam every 1 to 2 years. If you have an underline condition that is causing red eyes or perhaps worse yellow, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away as yellow eyes can be a sign of a very serious health problem.
2. Eat Healthy
A sure way to whiten your eyes is to eat more foods rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. Eliminating or at the very least reducing processed foods will go a long way in clearing up your red eyes. While this is a long-term solution, it is a process, and it may take some time to see the effects. But it is the best and healthiest solution to red eyes.
3. Take Supplements
To help get your eyes nice and white, you should have a good supply of vitamin A and C. To help with getting more of these specific nutrients in your daily diet add a daily supplement to your routine to help boost your levels and get rid of those red eyes.
4. Drink More Water
Drinking water is good for the body, it replenishes your body’s fluids and this includes whitening your eyes. Remain hydrated and your eyes will benefit. Aim to drink 8 to 10 glasses (~64 oz) of water every day and begin to see a difference. Read our blog on, Why Water is So Important to the Health of Your Aging Body.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension (AKA high blood pressure) can damage the blood vessels to your retina causing red eyes. This is a condition known as hypertensive retinopathy. Lowering your blood pressure is extremely important to your eyes and overall health. Hypertension is a life-or-death condition. Read our blog, How I Lowered My High Blood Pressure in 5 Easy Steps.
Stress and tension can cause your eyes to become irritated and red. Find ways to relax and de-stress and this will help reduce the problem of red eyes.
7. Get More Sleep
We all know how important sleep is and yet it seems to be one of the hardest things to come by. You should be looking to sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. When we sleep our bodies are at rest and so are our eyes. Not getting enough sleep is a major culprit for bloodshot eyes. Personally, I have noticed how much clear my eyes are when I consistently get seven-plus hours of sleep – and no dark circles. Read our blog, I Feel Like I Am Never Going to Sleep Again: We Are Talking About How to Get Better Sleep
8. Use Eye Drops
Eye drops are fast and usually an effective way to whiten your eyes. Certain eye drops should not be used consistently because they may prevent the natural creation of lubrication for your eyes causing chronic dry and red eyes, defeating the purpose of using the eye drops.
But Systane is a perfect eye drop solution for red irritated eyes. Systane is the #1 doctor-recommended brand of artificial tears. This great product will help restore moisture to your eyes and provide soothing relief in a matter of seconds.
9. Avoid Irritants
Eye irritants can come in many forms such as smoking, pollen, and dust to name a few.
Smoking irritates the eyes and will turn them red. Also, if at all possible, attempt to avoid dust and allergens. A great way to mitigate eye irritation is to use an air purifier.
10. Cut Down on Alcohol and Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine are substances that will cause dehydration. Remember, remaining hydrated replenishes your body’s fluids and this includes whiting your eyes. When you are dehydrated it will show with puffy, bloodshot eyes. Also, alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep exacerbating the issue of red eyes.
11. Limit Digital Screen Time
Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as digital eye strain is an eye/vision problem that people like me who spend a great deal of time in front of a computer screen encounter. This problem can also be generated by looking at other devices such as a tablet or smartphones. According to the American Optometric Association, “the average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home.”
One way to limit your screen time if you must be in front of a screen or monitor is to implement the 20-20-20 Rule. The 20-20-20 Rule says, every 20 minutes in front of the screen, look away for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. Another option is to add a laptop screen protector to your device. A laptop screen protector will help reduce fatigue and eye strain.
12. Cold Compress
Something I love to do that helps soothe my tension is place a cold washcloth across my forehead and close my eyes for about 10 minutes. This method is also effective to help reduce red and swollen eyes if done a few times throughout the day.
Blinking is something we do naturally, but not enough. Blinking is God’s way of washing our eyes. When you and I blink our eyeballs are washed in an antibacterial fluid that fights against irritants. This helps to soothe and comfort our eyes. When we look at a screen or monitor, we reduce the number of times we blink. So, if you are like me and you spend a great deal of time in front of a laptop, be sure to blink your eyelids multiple times throughout the day. A good time to practice this is when you are taking your 20-20-20 break.
14. Wear Sunglasses
The sun is a major culprit when it comes to red eyes. Because UVA and UVB rays can play havoc on your eyes, you should consider wearing sunshades or eyeglasses with tinted lenses to help protect your eyes. Even if it is a cloudy/overcast day, you should still wear your shades during the day because there may still be glare that will impact your eyes. Read our blog, How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun When Exercising?
Although it is challenging to keep your eyes bright and clear as you age, these 14 steps to get rid of red eyes will certainly help bring out the white of your sclera and the color of your iris. Clearer-looking eyes make you look younger and much more attractive. Follow these 14 steps and before you know it you will have younger and clearer-looking eyes.
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