Red Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, Complications and Treatment

Dr. Swapna Mulay

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Swapna Mulay

Ophthalmologist Eye Surgeon

6 min read


Do you have red eyes? Don’t worry as most times, it is not a sign of critical illness. Allergies & injuries are common red eyes causes. Get red eye treatment with medicines & by reducing screen time!

Key Takeaways

  • Red eyes are also known as bloodshot eyes
  • Red eyes causes include allergies, dry eyes, and more
  • Red eye treatment includes applying a cool compress

Red eyes, also known as bloodshot eyes, are a sign of different health conditions. It becomes visible in the blood vessels on the surface of the sclera or the whites covering the eyeball. When you have red eyes, these vessels get a red or pinkish tint. The conditions responsible for red eyes can be both benign and malignant. With red eyes, other eye conditions like vision disorder or pain in the eyes may also appear. Read on to learn about red eyes causes, symptoms, treatment, and more.

Red Eyes Causes 

There are plenty of causes for the formation of red eyes. Take a look at each of the factors that can become a red eyes reason and take steps to address them.

1. Dry Eyes 

It is a condition where the tear gland in your eyes is affected, and as a result, there are not enough tears in your eyes. It is common in 5-50% of people [1]. People with dry eyes will experience red eyes, along with symptoms like a constant burning sensation, blurred vision, high sensitivity to light, and more.

red eyes causes

2. Allergies 

If you get allergies in your eyes, they can lead to a burning sensation, itching, and excessive production of tears, thereby becoming a red eyes reason. Some common triggers of allergies include dust mites, pollens, pet dander, mold, and irritants such as smoke and other types of air pollution. Watch out for these to decrease the occurrence of red eyes.

3. Scleritis 

This condition impacts the white of your eyes or the sclera and leads to red eyes. Additional symptoms that come with this condition are blurred vision, increased tearing, decreased vision, and more.

4. Conjunctivitis 

You get infected with this condition when the white part in your eyes and the membrane covering the internal portion of your eyelids become swollen due to viral or bacterial infections or allergies. It also leads to red eyes and other symptoms like constant irritation, pus discharge, itching, burning sensation, abnormal tearing, and more.

5. Uveitis 

This condition is caused by a swelling in the middle part of your eyes called the uvea. With uveitis, you may experience red eyes as well as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye pain, and more.

Additional Read: Yoga for Eyeshow to prevent Red Eyes

6. Blepharitis 

This is a condition caused by the inflammation of the eyelids. Apart from red eyes, additional symptoms like constant irritation, burning sensation, increased tearing, and sensitivity to light are also common to blepharitis.

7. Injury 

Injuries are one of the most common causes of red eyes causes, and this includes other types of damage to the eyes as well. The sources of injuries include physical trauma, foreign objects, and chemicals. By taking care of this cause, you can reduce the symptom of red eyes.

8. Subconjunctival Hemorrhage 

If a blood vessel in one of your eyes ruptures and the surface of that eye gets filled with blood, it is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. It is one of the extreme forms of red eyes. You can get this from an eye injury or by rubbing your eyes too hard. Apart from that, vomiting and intense coughing and sneezing may also lead to this condition.

9. Eyelid Stye 

If there is a blockage in the meibomian gland in your eyes leading to swelling, it will be called an eyelid stye. This also leads to red eyes. 

10. Angle-closure Glaucoma 

Among different types of glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is a major cause of red eyes. It also leads to symptoms like blurred and decreased vision, eye pain, seeing halos, headache, nausea and vomiting, and more.

Apart from these, you can also get red eyes from corneal ulcers or from your contact lens.

red eyes

Red Eye Symptoms 

If you have red eyes due to easy-to-treat conditions like allergies or conjunctivitis, you can opt for red eye treatment at home itself. Here are the things you can do.  

  • Soothe your red eyes with a cool compress: It helps lower inflammation and redness.  
  • Wash away irritants with artificial tears: You can get these eye drops over the counter to treat red eyes. 
  • Consume the following OTC medications: Antihistamines or decongestants, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen 
  • Reduce your screen time to a minimum: This will give your eyes the much-required rest and reduce red eyes. 
  • Don’t wear makeup or contacts: Follow this until your red eyes symptoms go away completely. 
  • Don’t touch your eyes: This is even more important if your hands are exposed to pollutants that can be a red eyes reason. 
  • Reduce your contact with triggers: To recover quickly, make sure to stay away from irritants such as smoke, pollens, or hazardous chemicals. 
  • Keep your hands clean: Wash your hands frequently with soap or sanitize them to reduce the chances of this eye condition.
Additional Read: Save Lives Clean Your Hands

Complications of Red Eyes 

There is no major complication of red eyes unless it is accompanied by other serious eye conditions like the ones that change your vision or any type of eye injury.

Consult a Doctor for Red Eyes

In most cases, red eyes don’t require you to consult a doctor. Do seek red eye treatment in the following cases: 

  • If there is a sudden or gradual change in your vision 
  • If you are getting chronic pain in your eyes 
  • If your symptoms are not reducing the post-one week 
  • If your eyes have become sensitive to light 
  • If you are taking blood-thinner medications such as warfarin or heparin 
  • If fluids are coming out from one or both of your eyes

Knowing about all these symptoms and remedies for red eyes makes it easy to address the condition without any difficulty. In case you have further questions or have other worrying symptoms, you can get a doctor consultation on the Bajaj Finserv Health app or website. Apart from red eyes, you can also ask the doctor about eyestrain, night blindness, and other eye conditions. Choose from the best doctors near you as per their age, experience, qualification, languages known, and more with ease on this platform. Get started now, and make sure you give your eyes the attention and care they deserve! If you want to protect yourself from any disease, you can avail of health insurance.

Published on 6 Jul 2022Last updated on 12 Dec 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Swapna Mulay

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Swapna Mulay

, MBBS 1 , MS - Ophthalmology 3

A well experienced dr with best facility available in the clinic premises.


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