Red Bloodshot Eyes - Causes, Symptom, and Treatment

Red bloodshot eyes is described as a condition where the blood vessels located in the outer surface of the cornea appear swollen and in some cases, broken with minor bleeding giving the eye a reddened appearance on the sclera. This enlargement of blood vessels stems from an inadequate oxygen flow to the cornea. The extent of the redness in bloodshot eyes may range from minor redness in the corners of the eyes to localized reddening on specific parts of the cornea which is a result of hemorrhage in the blood vessels located in the cornea. Bloodshot eyes do not evoke a major medical concern until they accompany other serious symptoms like eye pain, hazy vision and fever.

Red Bloodshot Eyes - Causes, Symptom, and Treatment


Symptoms of bloodshot eyes vary from person to person which are dependent on the actual cause that leads to reddening in eyes. These include:

  • Redness or bright red blotches in the cornea
  • Discharge
  • Gritty feeling
  • Inflammation on eyelids
  • Colds
  • Headache
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Burning sensation
  • Nausea
If you experience pain and disturbances in your vision along with reddening of the cornea, you need to get yourself examined by an opthalmologist to avoid any damage to your vision.

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Any inflammation on the outer surface of the eye can be a result of allergy to external irritants like pollen, dust, chemicals, cosmetics and environmental pollution. Allergic red eye accompanies other symptoms like sneezing, coughing and watery eyes.

Dry Eyes

Staring at bright screens for long durations lowers the blinking rate of eyes and leads to dry eyes. Severely dry eyes have a greater likelihood of turning into red eye, if adequate measures are not undertaken to treat the condition.

Sub-conjuctival Hemorrhage

Bloodshot eyes often appear as bright red patches on the cornea which are caused by bleeding in blood vessels located in the cornea. This bleeding is termed as Subconjunctival Hemorrhage and may be brought on by factors like hypertension, a blood disorder called hemophillia or as a side effect of blood thinning medications.

Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses on a regular basis influences tear production in the eyes making them dry and irritated. If the lenses are not disinfected properly, they may lead to inflammation and infections in the eyes resulting in bloodshot eyes.

Eye Infections

Bacterial or viral eye infections are one of the factors leading to development of Red eye. Also termed as Pink Eye, this condition leads to inflammation on the outer membrane lining the cornea and the eyelids giving a reddened appearance to the eyes.

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Sleep Disorders

Disruptions in sleep patterns adversely affect eye health and lead to inflammation of tiny blood vessels in the eyes, thereby causing dry and red eyes.


Any injury to the eye may lead to bruising or bleeding from broken blood vessels in the cornea. The physical trauma may also result in inflammation in the cornea leading to red eye.

Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption gives rise to dilation of blood vessels which makes the blood in the vessels flow at a higher speed making the eyes appear red and inflamed.


Many people suffering from glaucoma report redness in the eyes along with blurry vision. This condition is a result of damage to the optic nerve which causes pressure in the eyes and makes them appear inflamed.


Treatment of bloodshot eyes is done by adopting a two-pronged approach targeting the symptoms and cause behind the condition. Most cases of bloodshot eyes can be resolved at home without seeking any medical help. If you notice pain and blurred vision or if the condition is caused by injury, inappropriate use of contact lenses and other underlying conditions like glaucoma or subconjunctival hemorrhage, it's better to get yourself treated by an eye doctor. We have outlined some ways to manage symptoms of bloodshot eyes at home.
Red Bloodshot Eyes - Causes, Symptom, and Treatment Red Bloodshot Eyes - Causes, Symptom, and Treatment Reviewed by Chibuzor Aguwa on Monday, February 26, 2018 Rating: 5

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