Bloodshot eyes is a condition that is characterized by red patches on the white potion of the eyes (called sclera). In most cases, such patches are noticed in the morning, after sleep. This condition is caused by inflammation and enlargement of the blood vessels in the sclera. This could be due to various reasons and most of them are harmless. However, in some cases, bloodshot eyes in the morning may indicate some underlying medical conditions. Usually, it is not accompanied with additional symptoms, but, some may experience pain, irritation or vision problems along with this condition.
As mentioned earlier, bloodshot eyes is a condition, which can be caused by various reasons. It is characterized by inflammation of the small blood vessels of the sclera, which get congested with blood. The following are some of the common causes for this condition.
- This condition may develop due to fatigue, eyestrain or irritation due to presence of foreign body in the eye.
- Environmental factors like dry weather conditions, exposure to harsh sun, chemical fumes and smoke and dust, may also cause bloodshot eyes.
- Medical conditions like cold, allergies, deficiency of vitamin B2 and B6, lack of sufficient amounts of amino acids (like, histidine, lysine or phenylalanine), trauma and bleeding disorders are among the common causes.
- Eye infections, inflammation of the eyes and corneal scratches can also cause this condition.
- Lifestyle factors like improper diet, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive use of cosmetics and regular smoking may result in bloodshot eyes in the morning.
- One of the common causes for bloody patches in the eyes is subconjunctival hemorrhage, which creates a bright red area in the sclera. This is due to bleeding under the conjunctiva, as the small blood vessels in this area rupture.
- Other uncommon reasons include diabetes, iritis, stress, liver or kidney disease, high blood pressure, glandular fever, acute glaucoma, pregnancy and IBS.
- Some people develop bloodshot eyes after swimming for long duration, especially in chlorinated water. Overuse or improper use of contact lens may also cause the condition.
If there is no additional symptom, the condition may subside within a few days (with or without medical treatment). In such cases, both the eyes may develop the condition. Apart from reddish patches or reddened sclera, the small blood vessels in the eyes may also look prominent. The eyes may become watery and develop a gritty sensation.
The additional symptoms may vary with the underlying cause and its severity. For example, if the cause is subconjunctival hemorrhage, the affected person may not feel any pain, but it can be sometimes itchy. In most cases, the condition subsides within one or two weeks. But, if you develop bloodshot eyes in the morning due to eye infections and/or inflammation, then the condition may be accompanied with symptoms like itching, discharge, pain, irritation and vision problems.
Apart from the above said symptoms, there can be additional ones like swelling, dryness in the eyes, sneezing or cough, discharge of mucus or pus and eye twitching. Some people may develop headache, neck pain and even stomach pain. If there is no additional symptom, then, you may wait for two to three days. If it does not subside, then visit a doctor. If there is any additional symptom (specially, vision problems), you must consult a doctor at the earliest.
As in case of bloodshot eye symptoms, treatment for this condition is also based on the underlying cause. Allergies can be one of the reasons and if you are diagnosed with the same, medicines like antihistamines will be prescribed. If the reason is dry eyes, it can be countered with artificial tears. In case of subconjunctival hemorrhage, no treatment is recommended, provided, there is no infection or significant trauma. So, the treatment for bloodshot eyes in the morning is based on the cause. If you have this eye problem, due to any reason, avoid rubbing the eyes with hands. You may also use some ice packs or rinse the eyes with cool water. These measures may soothe the eyes and alleviate the pain and swelling.
You can also adopt some preventive measures like, staying away from allergens. A change in the environment may also benefit you. Avoid stress, exposure to sun, excess alcohol consumption and smoking. Wear sunglasses while going out. Switch over to a proper, balanced diet, which is beneficial for the eyes. Get enough sleep and use goggles while swimming. Try to avoid junk food, refined oil, saturated fat, excess sugar and salt intake and soft drinks. In short, if the cause is something avoidable, then you must try that, in order to prevent bloodshot eyes in the morning. In case of any underlying disease, you have to get it treated.
Most cases are found harmless and will subside within a few days. However, it is always advisable to consult a doctor, if there are additional symptoms or if the condition does not subside within a 2-3 days or if the condition is very severe. If possible, consult the doctor, as soon as you develop the condition, so as to prevent unnecessary complications.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.