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Eye Irritation

Teen Version

What is an eye irritation?

An irritant in the eye is the second most common cause of red eyes. The irritant could be shampoo, smog, smoke, or chlorine from a swimming pool.

How long does it last?

Red eyes from irritants usually are cured within 4 hours after the irritating substance is washed out.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Wash with soap: Wash your face and then wash your eyelids once with soap and water. Rinse them carefully with water. This will remove any irritants on your skin.
  • Rinse out with water: Rinse out your eye with warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Eyedrops: Red eyes from irritants usually feel much better after the irritant has been washed out. If your eyes remain uncomfortable and bloodshot, put in some artificial tears or long-acting vasoconstrictor eyedrops (nonprescription items). Your eyedrops are _______________________. Use 2 drops every _____ hours as necessary.

When should I call my health care provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • A yellow discharge develops.
  • The redness lasts more than 2 days.
  • you have and questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-05
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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