The appearance of red eyes is caused by dilation of tiny blood vessels that are located between the sclera and the overlying clear conjunctiva of the eye. These tiny blood vessels (many of which normally are invisible) can become swollen because of environmental or lifestyle-related reasons or because of specific eye problems.
Red eyes usually are caused by allergy, eye fatigue, over-wearing contact lenses or common eye infections such as pink eye (conjunctivitis). However, redness of the eye sometimes can signal a more serious eye condition or disease, such as uveitis or glaucoma.
Environmental causes of red, bloodshot eyes include:
Red eyes occur when the blood vessels on the surface of the eye expand.
Common eye conditions that cause red eyes include:
Serious eye conditions that can cause red eyes include:
Lifestyle factors also can contribute to your red eye risk.
For example, smoking (tobacco or marijuana) definitely can cause red eyes, as
can significant alcohol consumption. Sustained use of digital devices and
insufficient sleep are other lifestyle-related causes of red eyes.
o Increased risk of strabismus, amblyopia, decreased visual acuity
o If history of ROP, esp. if higher severity – increased risk of the above and retinal detachment, visual field loss
· History of maternal “TORCH” infection during pregnancy (Toxoplasmosis,Other, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus)
· Family history of
o high refractive errors,
o congenital or juvenile cataract,
o congenital retinal dysplasia,
o other congenital retinal and lenticular disorders,
o metabolic or genetic diseases,
o color vision deficiency,
· Neurological and developmental disorders
· Presence of systemic disease associated with eye abnormalities, e.g. juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
· Use of medications associated with eye or vision abnormalities
If your eye redness is caused by a medical condition such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis, you may be able to treat your symptoms at home. Warm compresses on the eye can help reduce the symptoms of these conditions. You should also make sure that you wash your hands frequently, avoid wearing makeup or contacts, and avoid touching the eye.
If your eye redness is accompanied by pain or changes in vision, you need to see your doctor for treatment. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your current health conditions, and problems that may have caused irritation to your eye. Your doctor may also examine your eye and use a saline solution to wash out any irritants in your eye.
Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe
treatment that helps to alleviate your symptoms. This would likely include
antibiotics, eye drops, and home care as described above. In some cases, where
the eye is very irritated, your doctor may suggest wearing a patch to limit
light exposure and help your eye heal.
Red eyes can develop suddenly or over time. Eye drops are helpful in many cases, and can be purchased over-the-counter or online. If the redness is not easing up and is accompanied by other symptoms, people should see a doctor.
Eye injuries, contact lenses, and frequent use of eye drops can all cause irritation leading to red eyes. A doctor can help a person to pinpoint the cause of their red eye problem and develop a treatment plan.
Common treatments include eye drops, antibiotics, creams, and oral medications. Most conditions are readily treatable and, if caught early, do not cause any permanent long-term damage.
Some serious medical conditions, including leukaemia, sarcoidosis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, can also cause a red eye. As a result, getting a proper diagnosis is critical.
People should not hesitate to contact their doctor with any
questions or concerns if they have red eyes.
Most cases of eye redness can be prevented by using proper hygiene and avoiding irritants that can cause redness.
Follow these tips to prevent eye redness: