Red Eyes


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By Medicover Hospitals / 12 Jan 2021
Home | symptoms | red-eyes
  • A red eye is an eye that looks red because of infection or injury. Redness of the eyes occurs when the vessels of the eye become inflamed or irritated. Eye redness also referred to as bloodshot eyes, can indicate several health problems.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is red eyes?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home Remedies
    7. Prevention
    8. FAQ's

    What is Red eyes?

  • It is usually caused by injection and prominence of the superficial blood vessels of the conjunctiva, which can be caused by alterations in these or adjacent structures. Conjunctivitis and subconjunctival hemorrhage are two of the less serious but more common causes, while some of these problems are benign, others are serious and require emergency medical attention. Redness in your eye can because of concern. However, the most serious eye problems occur when you have redness along with pain or vision changes.
  • Causes:


  • As the name suggests, conjunctivitis can cause inflammation in the eye area. The highly contagious condition appears in 3 forms: bacterial, viral, and allergic.Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with a prescription antibiotic. Viral pink eye can be relieved with a cold compress and cold artificial tears. Symptoms clear up in less than two weeks.
  • Dry eyes:

  • Sometimes your tears do not have the texture they should. They can evaporate too quickly. And sometimes your eyes cannot make tears at all. This condition is called dry eye. It can cause pain, corneal ulcers, or, in rare cases, loss of vision.
  • Other symptoms of dry eye include:
    • a harsh feeling
    • a burning sensation
    • blurred vision
    • heavy eyelids
    • not being able to cry
    • eye fatigue
    • excess tears, at times when your eyes are not dry
    • a stringy discharge
    • discomfort with contact lenses


  • Blepharitis is a common inflammatory eye disease that causes redness in the eye area. It can also cause:
    • itching
    • burns
    • peeling
    • scabs

    Broken blood vessels:

  • This happens when tiny blood vessels break below the surface of the eye. The blood trapped and causes the white of your eye to turn bright red. A strong sneeze, heavy lifting, strong vomiting, or rubbing the eye too hard can cause broken blood vessels. Broken blood vessels can be scary, but they are generally harmless. There is usually no pain.
  • Glaucoma:

  • Fluid can collect in front of the eye. This causes stress and might harm your optic nerve. The condition called glaucoma. It is the leading cause of blindness in people 60 years and older. Glaucoma is usually painless. An unusual shape of acute glaucoma can cause signs and symptoms such as:
    • Severe pain in the eye
    • A headache
    • Blurred or decreased vision
    • Rainbows or halos in your vision
    • Nausea and vomiting

    Broken bones:

  • Broken or fractured bones can cause severe, sharp pain in the arm. You may hear an audible click when the bone breaks. Signs include:
    • Swelling
    • Bruises
    • Severe pain
    • A visible deformity
    • Inability to turn the palm of the hand
  • Apart from the above, there are other causes for red eyes:
    • trauma or injury to the eye
    • a rapid increase in pressure in the eye that causes pain called acute glaucoma
    • corneal scrapes caused by irritants or excessive use of contact lenses
    • inflammation of the white part of the eye called scleritis
    • styes on the eyelids
    • bleeding problems
    • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
    • use of marijuana
    • pool chlorine
    • dust
    • cigarette smoke
    • perfume


  • Before starting treatment, it is essential to diagnose the underlying cause of red eyes. The doctor can diagnose the condition by obtaining a detailed history of the patient and carefully examining the eye.
  • The doctor will examine the following to diagnose the cause:
    • pupil size
    • the reaction of a person to light
    • eyelids
    • corneal involvement
    • pattern and location of hyperemia (increased blood flow in blood vessels)
    • lacrimal sac
  • In severe cases of red eyes, specific laboratory tests, such as the tear osmolarity test, are performed to diagnose dry eyes.
  • Treatment:

  • Red eyes can appear suddenly or overtime. Eye drops are helpful most times. If the redness does not go away and is accompanied by other symptoms, people should see a doctor. Eye injuries, contact lenses, and frequent use of eye drops can cause eye irritation and redness. The physician can help the person to get treated for the red-eye disease and can develop a treatment plan.
  • Decongestants and antihistamines can help with itching and redness due to allergies. Treatment options include:
    • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic therapy to cure eye infections caused by bacteria.
    • Eye drops: Most medications for eye conditions are in the form of drops. These drops should be taken according to the doctor's prescription.
    • Anti-redness: Used to reduce redness.
    • Antibiotic eye drops: Prescribed for an eye infection.
    • Naphazoline or Tetrahydrozoline Eye Drops: This is a decongestant used to treat allergic reactions or irritation.
    • Glaucoma drops: Used to reduce pressure in the eyes.
    • Lubricant Eye Drops: Used to treat dry eyes.
    • Eye patches: In cases where the eyes are extremely irritated, the doctor may recommend eye patches to protect the eyes from light and speed up the healing process.

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • Most causes of red eyes do not require emergency medical attention.
  • If you experience redness of the eyes, make an appointment to see your doctor if:
    • your symptoms last over 1 week
    • experience changes in your vision
    • feel pain in the eye
    • you become sensitive to light
    • have discharge from one or both eyes
    • take medications that thin the blood, such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • Although most causes of eye redness are not serious, you should seek emergency medical help if:
    • your eye is red after trauma or injury
    • have a headache and blurred vision
    • begins to see white rings or halos around lights
    • experience nausea and vomiting
    • feels like something in your eye
    • you have swelling in or around your eyes
    • you cannot open your eye or keep it open
  • Consult your doctor to make an appointment if you have red eyes that do not go away after several days, especially if you have pus or thick or almost continuous mucus discharge.
  • Home Remedies:

    • Regularly place a cold compress on the eyes, made by soaking a clean cloth or cotton in warm or cold water and then wringing it out.
    • Always choose hypoallergenic eye makeup.
    • Use artificial tears, which can be purchased online or without a prescription or in pharmacies.
    • Apply antihistamine drops if the red eyes are due, for example, to a seasonal allergy.


  • To prevent red eyes from starting or getting worse:
    • Avoid smoke, pollen, dust, and other triggers.
    • Do not wear contact lenses until the red eyes disappear.
    • Always clean lenses properly and do not reuse disposable lenses.
    • Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes to prevent infection.
    • Wash clothes, pillowcases, and towels regularly.
    • Bathe or shower before bed or after coming in from outside if you have a seasonal allergy.
    • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen or dust when you are outdoors.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Here is a multivitamin especially geared closer to eye health, including zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E.Winokur prefers to recommend Omega vitamins like flaxseed oil to patients.
  • The condition can seem serious. However, if it is not accompanied by pain, it will usually go away in 7-10 days.
  • Yes. Sometimes the fluid collects in the front of the eye and puts pressure on the eye, which can damage the optic nerve.
  • If it can cause dehydration, consuming lots of water will help flush salt out of the body and properly hydrate the eyes to help lessen eye strain. Resting the eye by blinking or closing the eye will also help relieve eye strain.
  • A red eye is usually not a cause for concern, and it often gets better on its own. But sometimes it can be more serious and you will need medical help.
  • Citations:

  • Method, apparatus, and program for processing red eyes -
  • Intravitreal Triamcinolone Acetonide Injection in Blind Painful Eyes: Intraocular Steroids as a Treatment for Blind Painful Red Eyes -
  • Efficacy of Oxymetazoline Eye Drops in Non-Infectious Conjunctivitis, the Most Common Cause of Acute Red Eyes -