Red Eyes - Everything You Need to Know About Bloodshot Eyes

31st August 2022

Red eyes


Chances are you’ve experienced red eyes before either caused by allergies, a broken blood vessel or dry eyes. While redness of the eye doesn’t have to be dangerous, there are some symptoms you should be aware of as they can alert you to a number of possible medical conditions.

Some of these health issues might be benign, given that you are maybe stressed or it’s allergy season. Yet some of the same issues paired with pain or vision distortion can indicate something more serious like an injury or pink eye and you should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

In this blog, we will outline some of the most common issues along with their symptoms and some of their treatment options.


Most common causes of red eye


Dry eye:

If you are suffering from dry eyes it can be due to a lack of or inadequate tear production or your eyes drying up too quickly. According to the NHS, dry eyes are more common if you’re above the age of 50, wear contact lenses or look at computer screens for a long time without a break.

When you’re suffering from dry eyes, you might experience itchiness, redness and sensitivity to light. Some other symptoms of dry eyes include:

soreness

blurry vision

stinging or burning sensation

excessive tears


While dry eyes are nothing to be concerned about, there are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms. Cleaning your eyelids every day and taking breaks to rest your eyes when you’re using a computer screen can go a long way. Additionally, you can use a humidifier to stop the air from getting dry and if you should be wearing contact lenses, taking them out and wearing glasses to rest your eyes will help with dry eyes.


Red eyes


Allergies:

A very common cause of red eyes is allergies, however. Triggered by either seeds and pollen from grass or animal fur, your body reacts. This will most likely leave you with symptoms such as watery eyes, congested nose and constant sneezing. Particularly your eyes can feel itchy, be swollen and have a burning sensation. If you are also wearing contact lenses over a long period of time, it can further irritate your eyes and possibly lead to conjunctivitis.

 

To minimize red eyes due to allergies, avoid exposure to your allergy triggers, and wear prescription glasses instead of contact lenses to allow your eyes to get better again.


Eye injury:

Red eyes can also be caused by injury to the eyes such as a broken blood vessel. This occurs due to a strong sneeze, excessive eye rubbing or vomiting. While bloodshot eyes like these might look scary, they usually come with no pain and disappear on their own again.

 

Some other causes of red or injured eyes are:

-     Increased eye pressure attributable to possible conditions such as glaucoma

-     Overuse of contact lenses might lead to scratches on the cornea

-     Damage as a result of trauma to the eye

-     Foreign objects contaminating your eye


Red eyes


Eye infections:

If your eye happens to become infected, your eyes will most likely not only be red but also hurt. Different parts of the eye can be triggered by an infection and are commonly also accompanied by symptoms such as discharge, itchiness and vision disturbances.


Bloodshot eyes can be associated with infections such as:


Conjunctivitis or pink eye, a bacterial or viral infection producing pus that sticks to your lashes and leaves your eyes burning and itching

Blepharitis, an infection of the eyelid causing it to be swollen, itchy and sore, sometimes even with flakes and crusts around the roots of your eyelashes

Uveitis, and inflammation of the middle layer of your eye leading to eye redness as well as additional symptoms such as blurred vision, eye pain and sensitivity to light


Red eyes infographic


Treatment options and precautions for red eyes


Eye redness usually shouldn’t be a big concern considering they don’t occur too often and don’t last long. To prevent them in the first place, there are a few things you can do to avoid eye redness from developing.


Always wash your hands with soap or use sanitiser before touching your eyes

Avoid using contact lenses for a long period of time

Use contact lens solution and not tap water with your contact lenses

Stay away from your allergy triggers as far as possible

Take off your makeup before you go to bed to avoid eye infections caused by buildup gunk from makeup


Even if you are careful, eye redness can occur for a number of reasons and can’t always be avoided. If your red eyes are caused by milder conditions like allergies or dry eyes, it is most likely that with eye drops and extra care the problem goes away in due time. However, should you also experience eye pain, change in your vision or nausea and vomiting, it’s probably best to get your eyes checked by a professional immediately.

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