Seeing red, bloodshot eyes looking back at you in the mirror can be alarming. In many cases, this isn’t a cause for concern and can be alleviated with simple at-home methods. But, bloodshot eyes are also a possible symptom of various eye conditions. Here, we’ll discuss the possible causes of bloodshot eyes and when to seek professional care.
Dry eyes, or dry eye syndrome, is a condition that develops when the eyes don’t produce enough tears to remain hydrated. Eye dryness can also lead to dry irritation and red, bloodshot eyes. There are a variety of dry eye treatments available, including artificial tears, prescription eye drops, IPL, and serum drops.
Certain lifestyle habits can also dry out the eyes, potentially leaving them bloodshot. Unlike dry eye syndrome, which is a chronic condition, bloodshot eyes from the following habits will usually go away on their own with lifestyle adjustments:
- Excessive screen time
- Poor sleep quality
- Alcohol or cannabis consumption
- Wearing contacts for too long or sleeping in contacts
- Swimming in a chlorinated pool
Eye Infections and Inflammation
Certain eye infections can lead to bloodshot eyes, including:
- Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids
- Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”
- Uveitis, or inflammation of the uvea
If you have symptoms of an eye infection, including eye inflammation, redness, itching, discharge, and/or eye pain, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. You may need prescription medications to clear up the infection.
Eye allergies can cause the blood vessels at the front of the eyes to swell, causing a bloodshot appearance. Allergies can also cause fluid to build up in the eyes, leading to swelling and redness. When over-the-counter eye allergy medications fail to provide relief, you may need to see an eye doctor for expert care.
Other Conditions That Can Cause Bloodshot Eyes
Less commonly, bloodshot eyes can be caused by the following conditions:
- Eye injuries
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Corneal ulcer
If you’re struggling with persistent bloodshot eyes, schedule an appointment at The Eye Clinic of Florida for a professional evaluation.