There are many symptoms which could require more urgent attention. These include sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, recent onset flashes or floaters, shadows in vision, acute pain, redness, or sudden visual change amongst others. If in doubt, please call us to discuss.
Some of the more common causes of acute eye pain, redness or discomfort can be fully managed by us, either with management advice or with a prescription for some more complex remedies from one of our IP qualified optometrists. Others will require onward referral.
Dry eye syndrome, red eye and sore eyelids are common problems that can usually be treated by over-the-counter remedies and good eye hygiene. In most cases, red and sore eyes are caused by dry eye, blepharitis, or allergies rather than by infection, so often don’t need to be treated with antibiotics.
Dry eye syndrome
Dry eye syndrome leaves eyes feeling gritty, sore, and irritated. It’s more common in people aged over 60, and up to a third of people over 65 may suffer from the condition. It can also be caused by:
- hot, dry, or windy weather causing tears to evaporate
- inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- some medications, including the oral contraceptive pill
- too much screen time.
While there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, most people can manage the symptoms using treatments such as eye drops and gels that help to keep the eyes lubricated.
Sore, red eyelids may be a sign of blepharitis. You may suffer from both dry eye and blepharitis, and they can be caused by a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The meibomian glands line the margin of your eyelids and secrete oil that coats the surface of your eyes and prevents the water in your tears from evaporating, but if they’re not working properly, it can cause your eye to dry out.
You can manage the condition by applying a hot compress to closed eyes for around 5 minutes, followed by gentle lid massage and then cleaning your outer lids and margin with a special solution on a cotton pad. Your optometrist may recommend this once or twice each day. We sell reusable compresses and a variety of solutions, as well as gels or eye drops to keep the surface of your eyes moist. We can also prescribe stronger eye drops if necessary.
If you’re suffering from any discomfort or irritation, our qualified optometrists will examine your eyes and advise you on the best course of treatment to manage your symptoms.