What is eye redness?
Eye redness is when the white of the eye (the sclera) has become reddened or “bloodshot.” The appearance of red eye can vary widely. It can look like there are several squiggly pink or red lines on the sclera or the entire sclera may appear diffusely pink or red.
Most of the time, a case of red eye is short-lived and disappears on its own. Sometimes, however, red eyes can be caused by a more serious condition.
How common is eye redness?
Eye redness is extremely common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Which signs and symptoms can eye redness usually be associated with?
Related signs and symptoms include:
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
What causes eye redness?
Causes of eye redness can include:
- Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation)
- Chalazion (a type of cyst on your eyelid)
- Corneal abrasion (scratch)
- Corneal herpetic infections (herpes)
- Corneal ulcer
- Dry eyes (decreased production of tears)
- Ectropion (outwardly turned eyelid)
- Entropion (inwardly turned eyelid)
- Episcleritis (inflammation of the membrane covering the white part of the eye)
- Foreign object in the eye
- Glaucoma (group of conditions that damage the optic nerve)
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- Injury, such as from a blunt trauma or burn
- Iritis (inflammation of the colored part of the eye)
- Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
- Orbital cellulitis (severe infection of tissues around the eye)
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Scleritis (inflammation of the white part of the eye)
- Sty (a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid)
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in eye)
- Uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye)
The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of eye redness. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
What increases my risk for eye redness?
There are many risk factors for eye redness, such as:
- Exposure to allergens
- Exposure to pollutants, dry air, airborne fume, and other chemicals
- Overexposure to sunlight
- Smoking tobacco or marijuana
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Sustained use of digital devices
- Lack of sleep
Please consult with your doctor for further information.
When to see your doctor
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has any of the following:
- Sudden vision changes
- Red eye accompanied by severe headache, eye pain, fever or unusual sensitivity to light
- nausea or vomiting
- Red eye following a foreign object or chemical splashed in the eye
- Seeing halos around lights
- Swelling in or around your eyes
- Feeling like something is in the eye
- Inability to open the eye or keep the eye open
On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage eye redness?
These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with eye redness:
- 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.
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:
- Wash your hands if you’re exposed to someone who has an eye infection.
- Remove all makeup from your eyes each day.
- Do not wear contact lenses longer than recommended.
- Clean your contact lenses regularly.
- Avoid activities that can cause eyestrain.
- Avoid substances that can cause your eyes to become irritated.
- If your eye becomes contaminated, flush it out immediately with water.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Red eye. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/red-eye/basics/definition/sym-20050748. Accessed January 16, 2019.
Red Eyes (Bloodshot Eyes). https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/red-eyes.htm. Accessed January 16, 2019.
What Causes Eye Redness? https://www.healthline.com/symptom/eye-redness. Accessed January 16, 2019.
Review Date: January 16, 2019 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019