Why Do I Have Red Eyes and How Can I Treat Them?
Are your eyes always red? If your mirror is constantly throwing you a reflection of red or bloodshot eyes, it’s time you did something about it.
Red eyes can indicate an eye condition such as dry eyes, scleritis, blepharitis, or uveitis. They can also be a sign of more serious diseases.
Understanding what causes red eyes is important especially if you have persistent red eyes. In this post, we’ll review the most common causes of red eyes.
We’ll also look at accompanying red eyes symptoms and discover effective treatments you can follow at home.
Red Eyes Causes and Related Symptoms
Red eyes occur when the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the sclera, the white of the eye, expand. In some cases, redness may occur if these vessels break.
From allergies and dry eyes to eye injuries, you may get red eyes for many different reasons. However, while some of these causes are mild to moderate, others are medical emergencies that can endanger your vision. If other symptoms accompany red eyes, it’s important to pay attention to them.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common red and bloodshot eyes causes.
When red eyes are the result of an allergic reaction, you may experience itching, burning, tearing, and sneezing. Common culprits include pollen, smoke, air pollution, and dust mites.
Dry eyes occur when your tear glands don’t make sufficient tears or when imbalances in the tear components makes them evaporate faster than normal. Dry eyes may cause red eyes and other symptoms, including stinging or burning in the eye, a feeling that you have something in the eye, and light sensitivity.
Also known as pink eye, it occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, making the white of the eye look pink. You may experience burning, itching, tearing, and mucus discharge. Bacterial and viral infections (including COVID-19), allergies, and smoke can all cause this condition.
An inflammation of the eyelids, blepharitis typically occurs because of too many eyelid bacteria. In addition to red eyes, you may also experience itching, stinging, burning, tearing, and crusty eyelids.
This is a painful lump on the inside of your lower or upper eyelid. It’s the result of inflammation caused by a blockage of the meibomian gland, which secretes the oily component of the tear film. A stye may lead to one red eye only.
Causing corneal ulcers or sores, this condition affects the cornea, the outer part of the eye. Culprits include viruses, bacteria, and injuries. Dry eyes and overusing contact lenses can also cause keratitis. Red eyes from keratitis often come with serious eye pain, tearing, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and pus.
Inflammation of the white of the eye or sclera is called scleritis. Common causes include autoimmune diseases like lupus, Sjogren’s, rheumatoid arthritis, eye injury, or eye infection. Red eyes from scleritis often come with other symptoms such as pain or tenderness in the eye, light sensitivity, and vision problems. Scleritis often also causes red watery eyes.
This serious condition causes inflammation in the uvea, the middle part of the eye between the retina and the white of the eye. Causes include autoimmune diseases and infections. In addition to red eyes, you may experience pain, light sensitivity, blurriness, and floaters.
This condition occurs when a blood vessel in the eye breaks. The redness may be intense, but the condition usually resolves on its own within two weeks. Subconjunctival hemorrhage causes include rubbing your eyes too hard, hypertension, diabetes, or coughing or sneezing forcefully.
Putting and taking off contact lenses increases the risk of red eyes. Since you are touching your eyes quite often, you are more likely to develop eye scrapes, scratches, and infections.
Falling asleep with your contacts on can lead to an inflammatory condition that causes acute red eyes.
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye increases beyond normal levels, leading to optic nerve damage. One type of glaucoma, closed-angle glaucoma, can cause red eyes along with severe pain, decreased vision, rainbow rings or halos, blurriness, and headache. Red eyes caused by glaucoma is a medical emergency that calls for immediate medical treatment.
Known as photokeratitis, prolonged sun exposure may irritate the eye, causing redness. Wearing sunglasses outdoors can help you safeguard your eyes from excessive sun exposure and damaging UV radiation. Learn more about the benefits of wearing sunglasses.
Alcoholic drinks dilate the blood vessels in the eye and fill them with blood. This can lead to a bloodshot appearance. Your eyes may also feel dry since alcohol can dehydrate you.
Accidental blows or chemical exposure may cause eye redness due to injury. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and vision problems.
Important: If eye redness comes with pain, vision changes, headache, nausea, or light sensitivity, seek medical attention right away to safeguard your vision.
Dry Eyes and Eye Redness
Red eyes are a common symptom of dry eye disease. If you have chronic dry eyes, you may experience persistent red eyes.
Dry eyes has a prevalence as high as 50%. Risk factors include aging, being female, having an autoimmune disease, and working in a low-humidity environment, such as an air-conditioned office.
Antihistamines and systemic medications may also trigger dry eyes. Spending hours in front of screens leads to more incomplete blinks, which can dry out the surface of your eyes.
Depending on the severity of your dry eyes, you may wake with red eyes. Or your eyes may get red during the day as the surface of your eyes dries out.
In all cases, home remedies can help you get rid of the redness. Dry red eyes feel unpleasant, but you don’t have to put up with them.
Home Remedies for Red Eyes
Artificial tears are a common treatment for red eyes, though they can make dry eyes worse. For red eyes caused by bacterial infections, antibiotics can help relieve symptoms.
Allergy-induced red eyes are treated with decongestants and antihistamines, though these too can cause ocular dryness.
Simple home remedies for red eyes can provide relief without side effects.
Apply a Cold Compress
Eyes getting red often? Applying a cold compress over your eyes several times a day can reduce redness. A cold compress can decrease swelling and irritation symptoms like itchiness.
- Dip a clean cloth or small towel in clean water that is cool but not cold. Wring out excess water.
- Lie down or lean back comfortably in an armchair, close your eyes, and place the compress over your eyelids.
- Remain in a relaxed position for 5 to 10 minutes or longer.
You can apply a cold compress over your eyes two or more times a day. If you plan to reuse the cloth the following day, make sure to wash it so it will dry overnight.
Take Blueberry Gummies
The Blueberry Gummies from Sightsage are another home remedy that can help treat dry eyes and support overall eye health. They are packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that soothe and replenish dry and tired eyes.
Made from Canadian blueberries and sweetened with monk fruit, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener, Blueberry Gummies are diabetes-friendly and suitable for all diets.
Blueberry Gummies are easy to take and taste delicious. Take one or more gummies twice a day depending on the severity of your symptoms. For dosage guidance, contact our customer support team.
Customers with red eyes who have tried Blueberry Gummies love taking them every day.
It works! My eyes have been dry, red and sore for years. I purchased the Blueberry Gummies and within days my eyes were clear! I am very grateful to SightSage! – Michael C. (New York, United States)
Miraculous Blueberry Gummies! Ever since I tried the blueberry gummies my eyes have been improving! Redness and irritation have reduced a lot and my eyes feel a lot more hydrated and healthy. I can't wait for my next order so I can continue to take these and allow my eyes to become healthier. Great product! I would definitely recommend giving it a try! – Matia R. (Ontario, Canada)
Reduce redness and nourish your eyes with Blueberry Gummies. Try them now!