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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10882
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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The whites of my eyes seem to always be red. I am 37 years

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The whites of my eyes seem to always be red. I am 37 years old and remember the problem since my teens. I do not smoke Marijuana, and I have been told it is just hereditary. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this? Could it be reflective or a sign of any other health issues?

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

there are a number of reasons that your eyes could be red. Do your eyes itch or burn at all? Other then the redness, have you ever noticed any discharge or sticking together of your eyelids?

Dr. Rick :

The drops, like visine, that contain "get the red out" chemicals really, in the long run, make the redness worse. This is because, while they get rid of the red for 30 minutes or so by constricting the blood vessels in your conjunctiva the vessels soon dilate, cause more redness, you use the drops again.....and a vicious cycle is started. I'd stay away from these types of drops.

Dr. Rick :

We have been having problems with our chat system today. I have not been able to see anything you may be typing. If I can't read your posts soon I will switch to the Q&A system and we can continue there....


 

Customer:

Yes I did respond

Customer:

I do not have discharge of sticking of lids

Dr. Rick :

I didn't see you response until just now.....

Dr. Rick :

ok, that is good.

Customer:

they do not itch

Customer:

and they only burn at end of day when I am tired or have looked at computer screen all day

Dr. Rick :

Well, the most common cause of chronic redness of the eyes is a combination of a couple of things. Even though you are not noticing any discharge or itching it is possible that you are suffering some combination of dry eyes, allergies (although this may be less of an issue in your case) and blepharitis.

Customer:

blephartis?

Dr. Rick :

What can you do to address these issues and, hopefully decrease the amount of redness you have? Well, when it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.


 


Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.


 


The best treatment for this condition is daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.


 


Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.


 


Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.


 

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

Are you still there?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Rick :

Ok.

Customer:

great

Dr. Rick :

Give this a try, I think it will help you. Sorry about the problems with the chat system today :(

Customer:

I am going to you tube that scrub

Dr. Rick :

And, now, the obligatory word from our sponsors: :o)


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Dr. Rick :

Ok. Have a good day.

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