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Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent?

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Ophthalmologist
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Hello,

I overused vasoconstrictor eye drops for about 15 years. I am 32 now and just stopped using the drops (naphcon). My eyes are a little bit better but I noticed that I have tiny red veins running through my eyes--are they permanent?

I went to my eye doctor and he did not give me a prescription for a mild steroid drop because he said that the redness was not bad. Although my eyes have improved since then, I can still see the tiny veins close up. Did I cause permanent damage with these drops? How long until they will fade--will they ever 100% go away?

Thanks- XXXXXXX
Posted Fri, 30 Nov 2012 in Vision and Eye Disorders
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 1 hour later
Dear XXXXXXX
Thanks for the query.
What you are seeing are nothing but dilated blood vessels.After withdrawing vasoconstrictor drops, these blood vessels will remain dilated for a few months.

Dilated blood vessels are not a bad thing to have.Many people have it naturally.
I would advise you not to use any steroid eye drops.

Hope I have answered your query.I will be available to answer any furthur queries,if you have any.


Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 4 hours later
Hello Dr XXXXXXX Shah,

Thank you for your fast reply. So these blood vessels should improve over time- I didn't cause any permanent damage? Is there anything I can do to make them go away sooner? Why do they become dilated for awhile, what happens to them.. Do they need to learn how to constrict on their own? In other words, my eyes were so dependent on the drops that they relied on them to constrict normally?

I apologize for all of the questions-- I am just trying to understand what is happening.

Thanks- XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 1 hour later
Dear XXXXXXX

Thanks for replying back.You did not cause any damage to your eyes.Your eyes are just fine.It will take a while for the blood vessels to constrict normally because they have lost their ability to constrict on their own.You should rinse your eyes daily with cold water.This will help.

I hope I have cleared your doubts.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 8 hours later
Thank you, Dr. Shah for your response. I guess I was just worried because my eyes look redder in certain lighting but then I go out and look in natural lighting and they look better. Would using artificial tears speed up the process? How long does the recovery period generally last? Have you seen a lot of patients get better from this?

Thanks again, XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 12 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

Artificial tears will help.The recovery may take upto three months.Yes,I have treated a lot of such patients and most of them have got better.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 5 days later
Hello Dr. Shah,

Thank you for your reply. I have uploaded recent pictures of my eyes-- maybe you can tell me if you think I will ever get better?

Yesterday my eyes were a little better but today I woke up with then bloodshot again- I think due to my allergies (That is why I started using vasoconstrictor eyes drops in the first place 15 years ago).

Maybe I am making too big of a deal over my eyes and that everyone has visible veins? I just don't know what's normal and what isn't. I am beginning a new job next week in which I will be working under fluorescent lighting and my eyes always look redder under that kind of lighting-- I feel a bit discouraged.

Many thanks, XXXXXXX

P.S. Please view the uploaded pictures of my eyes- thanks!
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 3 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

Thanks for replying back.
You are just making too big a deal about your eyes.I have seen your pictures.You just have a few dilated vessels.Use artificial tears and they will disappear after a few months.
Go ahead with your new job.You will just be fine.Dont worry about your eyes too much.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 9 minutes later
Dr. Shah,

Thank you for your fast response. Yes- I am a worry wart at times and in this case it pertains to my eyes.

So these veins will disappear in time? I don't know why I thought that once a person develops prominent eye veins that they are there for good, but you say that is not true so that is great news!

I suppose I am in a "recovery period" right now? It seems that I have good days and bad with my eyes. Is that common during recovery? Can anxiety make redness worse? It seems like when I am focused on the redness it looks worse.

Thanks again for being so kind and helpful, it is much appreciated!
XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 1 hour later
Dear XXXXXXX

Yes, you are right.Anxiety can cause dilatation of vessels.You should try relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.As far as your eyes are concerned, just ignore the redness for a while.I am sure you will do fine.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 11 minutes later
Dr. Shah,

I had a feeling that anxiety could cause dilated vessels. I do know that anxiety can cause your face to flush, but wasn't sure about the eyes.

I suppose I am in a "recovery period" right now and that it is just going to take time. Will the vessels completely disappear or just fade? Would a mild steriod drop help this along?

I apologize for all of the questions. I am working on relaxing as I feel like that may be half the battle in my recovery. I used to do yoga all of the time, maybe I will start back up again.

Thanks again! XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 9 minutes later
Dear XXXXXXX

Your vessels will slowly fade.My advise is not to use any kind of steroid drops.Just give it some time.

Best of luck,

Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 8 days later
Hello Dr. Shah,

I hope that you are doing well. I am hanging in there-my eyes are still bothering me. Some days are better than others but they are still quite red some days. I went to my eye doctor and he said that there is nothing wrong with my eyes and that I just have a lot of "dilated blood vessels" in my eyes. He said that he isn't sure if they will ever go away but they might fade, he isn't sure though.

Somedays my eyes look better than others but the veins are still quite visible. I started my new job and they look really red under the fluorescent lights and my allergies are causing them to be itchy. It's so hard not to reach for the visine or naphcon. I am trying to hold onto hope that one day they will look clear again but felt discouraged after my appointment last week when my doctor said the veins may not fade. I am young (32) so I have hope that my eyes can heal. Are you sure that I didn't permanently cause the veins to dilate from using the vasoconstrictors for so long? Is it going to be a long recovery period until the veins learn how to constrict on their own?

Thank you so much for your help!!
XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 10 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

You have to hold on.Dont be tempted to use vasoconstrictor drops.They will cause more problems.Just keep using artificial tears.The vessels will fade away.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 2 hours later
Thank you, Dr. Shah for your fast response. You are a very kind and compassionate doctor- I really appreciate that!

I suffer from anxiety and I often wonder if that is making the dry and red eyes worse. What do you think? I am constantly looking in the mirror checking to see if they are red and if they are, I put drops in-- artificial tears, dry eye gel, patanol for allergies, zaditor, etc. It's a constant thing... I probably am using too much in my eyes causing them to be more irritated. Is that a possibility? I do not use the vasoconstrictor eye drops anymore though but sometimes it's hard not to reach for them.

Any chance you could elaborate on how anxiety can worsen redness and dry eyes? You mentioned in one of your past replies that anxiety dilates blood vessels? Could it be possible that I am making them red w/ my negative thoughts and anxieties?

Thanks again, XXXXXXX

P.S. So there is nothing I can do to speed up the healing time? Any vitamins/supplements I could take? Also, is caffeine bad for your eyes? I tend to drink a lot of caffeine and I wonder if that is drying out my eyes even more?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 6 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

Anxiety will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.An overactive sympathetic nervous system will cause dilatation of blood vessels.The more anxious you become, the more it will dilate your blood vessels.So you have to break this cycle and only you can break this cycle.No doctor can help you.You just have to stop thinking and worrying about your red eyes.

Secondly,I feel you are overtreating your eyes.Artificial tears four times a day and eye gel at night is enough.You should stop all other drops.The preservatives used in the other drops are toxic to the eyes and can cause redness.

Thirdly, caffeine can cause sympathetic nervous stimulation and can cause dilatation of vessels.You should avoid caffeine.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stopped using vasoconstrictor eye drops. Noticed red veins running through eyes. Are they permanent? 14 hours later
Dr. Shah,

Thank you for your detailed explanation, I really appreciate it.

I am trying to use artificial tears and gel less often. I feel like the gel gives me some relief and makes my eyes look whiter.

I trust that the veins will fade. Can the dryness be from the overuse of the vasoconstrictors and the preservatives in them?

Thanks again, XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mihir Shah 9 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

You can use artificial tear drops and gel as frequently as you want.They will not cause any harm.

Yes the preservatives used in other drops will cause more dryness.So you should avoid them altogether.

Best regards,
Dr.Mihir Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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