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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 carefully with soap and water. This will remove any irritants on your skin and keep them from getting in your eyes.
  • Flush with water: Rinse out your eye with warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Eye drops: 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 eye drops for allergies (nonprescription items). You need the eye drops recommended by your healthcare provider.

When should I call my healthcare 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 Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2009-11-23
Last reviewed: 2018-07-13
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 ©1986-2018 Barton D. Schmitt, MD FAAP. All rights reserved.
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