Bloodshot eyes is the term used to refer to eye redness, which occurs when the small blood vessels present near the surface of the eye get enlarged and dilated. This can happen due to an injury, irritation, or certain eye diseases that can affect both children and adults. In general, it is a minor problem that can subside on its own. But occasionally, immediate medical intervention can be required, especially if it is accompanied by symptoms like severe pain, blurred vision, itching, and swelling or inflammation.
What Causes Redness in the Eyes
Several factors can cause eye redness, of which the most common causes are explained below:
- An injury or trauma to the eyes can cause the blood vessels present near the surface to enlarge and dilate. This can give the eyes a bloodshot appearance.
- Allergens like pollen, dust, and environmental toxins can cause this condition as well.
- Lack of sleep or straining the eyes excessively, as well as overexposure to sunlight can be some other possible causes of eye redness.
- Sometimes, red eyes can be a symptom of conjunctivitis, which is also known as pink eye. Conjunctivitis is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections of the conjunctiva.
- Individuals with dry eye syndrome can also experience bloodshot eyes. Dry eye syndrome is characterized by the disorder of the tear film, and the reduced production of tear, or its increased evaporation.
- Blepharitis can be another possible cause. It is caused by the infection and inflammation of the eyelid and the eyelashes. This condition can be caused by bacterial infections, allergic reactions, and excessive production of oil by the meibomian glands of the eye.
- Uveitis or the inflammation of the uvea can also cause redness of the eyes, along with pain and blurred vision.
- One serious condition associated with bloodshot eyes is acute glaucoma. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerves, which can eventually lead to loss of vision.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage is the condition where the tiny blood vessels lying underneath the conjunctiva burst and bleed, which causes the transparent conjunctiva to appear red. The factors that can cause subconjunctival hemorrhage are, high blood pressure, coughing, minor trauma, straining, vomiting, and sneezing.
- Apart from these, overuse of contact lenses, corneal ulcers, and infections of the cornea can be some other factors that can cause eye redness.
Treatment of Red Eyes
In general, bloodshot eyes or eye redness is not a major problem, as it usually resolves on its own with proper eye care. But when the condition is accompanied by severe pain, vision problems, and halos, medical treatment is required. If allergies are responsible for causing this condition, then oral antihistamines can be taken, and the eyes can be irrigated with saline solution or an eye drop. However, artificial tear can be required to treat eye redness, if it is associated with dry eye syndrome. Some simple home remedies, like the application of ice pack on the affected eye can alleviate minor irritation and swelling of the eye.
However, if the condition is caused by diseases like conjunctiva and blepharitis, then your eyes need to be properly evaluated with the help of an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist usually carries out several diagnostic tests to ascertain the underlying cause. Therefore, if the condition persists for several days, it should be reported to an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. At the same time, one should refrain from touching or rubbing the affected eye, which can aggravate the condition. In future, recurrences can be avoided by identifying and avoiding the triggering factors.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.