Q: What causes a red eye?
A: There are several causes of a "red eye." It is important to differentiate the more common, less urgent ones from serious medical ones that require more observation and treatment. Dry eye syndrome is the most common cause of a red eye, which is especially common during winter months due to the dry air and use of heaters.
Appropriate use of lubricating drops can help control redness and burning in most cases. When red eye is associated with eye pain, drainage or headache, the etiologies can be more serious. These include viral conjunctivitis or "pink eye"; acute angle closure glaucoma; or uveitis (inflammation of the eye). It is important to be evaluated by an eye specialist if you are noticing any of these symptoms, as they often warrant careful evaluation and management.
— Dr. Rohan J. Shah, Southeastern Retina Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society