When to go to Urgent Care for Eye Redness
Any time you experience eye redness, it’s important to seek urgent care. Eye redness that is accompanied by swelling or pain may be a sign of a serious infection, such as conjunctivitis. While there are many causes of conjunctivitis, two common forms of contagious and potentially dangerous strains are viral and bacterial forms. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious, while bacterial conjunctivitis is spread through direct contact with an infected person. Both can quickly lead to severe complications if left untreated. In some cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics; in others they recommend prescription eye drops or ointments.
If you have allergies and your eyes are red and itchy, try a nasal spray or an antihistamine before you visit an urgent care facility. An over-the-counter remedy can help to relieve some of your symptoms so that you can continue about your day without worrying too much about your inflamed eyes. If those drugs don’t help, call a doctor immediately. Your doctors will ask if any foods might be irritating your eyes and if they hurt when they touch them. They may also take a quick look in your ears, nose and throat with a lighted tool called an otoscope.
The most common reason people visit urgent care centers is eye redness, so you have a pretty good chance of being seen quickly. But be sure that it’s really eye redness, and not something else: Styes, viral conjunctivitis (pink eye), corneal abrasions and foreign bodies are all conditions that can cause eye redness. If your eyes are also watery or swollen, you may want to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist instead—these specialists will be able to help with more complicated cases. Plus, they may even know if there’s an underlying condition causing your symptoms like allergic conjunctivitis (hay fever). These issues are best treated by a specialist as they don’t require urgent care.
Because urgent care centers can treat a wide range of medical issues, it’s important to know when you should head in. If your eye redness is painful or you can’t fully open your eyes because of swelling, you should head in. In these cases, your urgent care clinic will be able to determine whether an infection is present and prescribe medication. If your eye redness isn’t painful or doesn’t affect your vision, wait until morning so that you can see a doctor at a regular medical practice if need be; they’ll be able to assess whether any permanent damage was done by draining any blood vessels that may have burst due to pressure on them during sleep.