Red Eyes - Common Reasons Behind Them!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Amit Solanki 88% (20ratings)
FAECS, DNB Ophtalmology, DO Ophthalmology, Fellowship In Phacoemulsification & Refractive Surgery
Ophthalmologist, Indore  •  18years experience
Red Eyes - Common Reasons Behind Them!

Red or bloodshot eyes occur when there is a dilation of the blood vessels on the white part of the eye, also called as sclera. One or both the eyes can experience redness which can be accompanied by itching, pain in the yes, eye-discharge, swelling in the eye and other symptoms.

Red eye is related to 

  1. Subconjunctival haemorrhage- when one or more blood vessels on the sclera burst open
  2. Blephartis- a condition of inflamed eyelids
  3. When there is a red bump on the eye lid (Stye)
  4. Sometimes, using contact lenses also causes red-eye effect

Red eye appears because of several reasons such as;

  1. Conjunctivitis
  2. Allergy to dust
  3. Tiredness of the eyes
  4. Over wearing of contact lenses

Sometimes, red eye happens because of more serious diseases such as glaucoma or uveitis.

What causes red-eye

  1. Cornea ulcerIf there is an untreated eye-wound then it might degenerate into a cornea ulcer. This medical condition is accompanied by eye pain, eye discharge and reduced vision. Corneal ulcers are life threatening so rush to a doctor if you suspect you are suffering from this disease.
  2. Ocular herpes: Caused by Type1 herpes simplex virus, this disease is viral in nature. Symptoms include sensitivity to light, eye pain, eye discharge, eye redness and swollen eyes. If left untreated, ocular herpes may lead to scarring of the cornea and partial blindness. In such cases, a corneal transplant may be needed.
  3. Uveitis: This medical condition refers to the inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Unless treated in time, this may lead to cataract, detached retina, high ocular pressure and later a permanent loss of vision. Uveitis may be caused by eye infections, trauma or a systemic auto-immune disorder.
  4. Glaucoma: One of the main reasons behind red-eye is this medical condition. There is an increased pressure in the aqueous humor on the sclera in this condition and this leads to glaucoma. If you have a red-eye, are over 40 and have diabetes, then you must consult your doctor for treatment of glaucoma.
  5. Cold and fluOne of the most common reasons behind having a red-eye are cold and red flu. Infected and blocked sinuses are the underlying causes behind puffy and bloodshot eyes.
  6. PregnancyDuring pregnancy, there are changes in the hormonal levels and these lead to red and puffy eyes.
  7. Smoking and drinking: Did you know drinking also causes red eyes? That is so because alcohol in your bloodstream reduces the oxygen content in the blood vessels. As a result, they clump together and the eyes sport a red look for want of oxygen. Smoking also causes red eyes because the toxic smoke irritates the eyes.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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