What is red-eye (bloodshot eyes)?
Red eyes occur when the vessels of the eye become inflamed or irritated. Eye redness is also known as bloodshot eyes, which indicates the presence of a variety of health problems. While some of these problems are benign, others are serious and require urgent medical attention.
Redness of the eyes can be cause for concern. However, more serious eye problems can occur when you have redness or vision changes along with pain.
Causes of red eyes
The most common cause of red eyes is inflamed vessels on the surface of the eye.
Irritations: Several irritants are inflammation of the vessels of the eye, including:
- Dry air
- Sun exposure
- Allergic reactions
- Bacterial or viral infection such as measles
Estrin or cough causes a specific condition called a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage. When this happens, a spot of blood appears in one eye. The situation may seem dire. However, if it is not accompanied by pain, it usually disappears in 7 to 10 days.
Eye infection: The most serious causes of red eyes are infections. Infections that cause redness of the eye:
- Inflammation of the hair follicles called blepharitis.
- Inflammation of the lining of the eye is called conjunctivitis or pinkeye.
- Ulcers that cover the eye are called corneal ulcers.
- Inflammation of the uvea called uveitis.
Other causes of eye redness:
- Injury to the eye
- Pressure in the eye rises rapidly, resulting in pain called acute glaucoma
- Corneal scratches caused by irritation or excessive use of contact lenses
- Inflammation of the white part of the eye
- Eyelid Styles
- Bleeding problems
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
When should you see your doctor?
Most causes of red eyes do not require emergency medical help.
If you experience redness of the eyes, you should make an appointment to see your doctor:
- Your symptoms last more than 1 week
- You will experience changes in your vision
- You may feel pain in your eye
- You are sensitive to light
- You have discharge from one or both eyes
- Take medications that thin the blood, such as heparin or warfarin (Common, Zantoven)
Although most causes of eye redness are not serious, you should seek emergency medical attention:
- Your eye may be red after injury or trauma
- You have a headache and blurred vision
- You start to see white circles or halos around the lights
- You may experience nausea and vomiting
Treatment for red eyes
If your eye is red from a medical condition like conjunctivitis or blepharitis, you can treat your symptoms at home. Warm compresses to the eye can help reduce the symptoms of these conditions. Avoid frequent hand washing, wearing makeup or contact lenses, and avoiding eye contact. If you have red eye pain or vision changes, you should see your doctor for treatment.
Ask your doctor about your symptoms, your current health conditions, and any problems that may irritate your eye. Your doctor may also examine your eye and use a saline solution to remove any irritation in your eye. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe a treatment that will help relieve your symptoms. Includes antibiotics, eye drops, and home care as described above.
In some cases, when the eye is very irritated, your doctor may suggest that you wear a patch to limit the exposure to light and heal your eye.
What are the problems of the redness of the eye?
Most causes of red eyes do not cause serious problems.
If you have an infection that causes vision changes, it can affect your ability to do basic tasks like cooking or driving. Visual impairments in these areas can lead to accidental injury.
Untreated infections can cause permanent damage to the eye. If the redness in the eye does not go away in 2 days, you should call your doctor.
Prevention of red eyes
Most cases of eye redness can be prevented by using proper hygiene and avoiding irritations that cause redness.
Follow these tips to prevent red eyes:
- You should wash your hands if you are exposed to an eye infection
- Remove all makeup from your eyes every day
- Do not wear contact lenses for longer than recommended
- Clean your contact lenses regularly
- Avoid activities that cause eyelids
- Stay away from substances that can irritate your eyes
- If your eye is contaminated, rinse it immediately with an eyewash or water if you do not have an eyewash