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Bloodshot Eyes – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What are Bloodshot Eyes?

Did you ever experience having bloodshot eyes? It can actually be frightening seeing your eyes turning into red. Bloodshot eyes can be defined as the reddening of the white portion of your eyes, specifically the sclera. It is also widely known as allergy eyes or pink eye. This happens when the wee blood vessels in your eyes become inflamed and dilated giving your eyes that bloodshot appearance. Having bloodshot eyes is not really given high significance because this is a common thing that could happen to anyone of us. For instance, lacking sleep and the mere presence of allergens in the environment could all lead to development of red eyes. Other factors that would probably lead to the development of bloodshot eyes include substance abuse, tiredness, or trauma to the eyes. However, this is not always the case for there can be certain instances that the development of bloodshot eyes is due to some serious pathology. Let us get to know some important facts about bloodshot eyes.

Bloodshot Eyes Symptoms

Aside from the reddening of the eyes, there can also be other symptoms involved in the development of bloodshot eyes. The clinical manifestations along with bloodshot eyes would actually depend on the underlying cause. Some of the common symptoms of bloodshot eyes include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Presence of eye discharge
  • Blurring of vision

It is very important to know the danger signs of bloodshot eyes especially blurring of vision, severe headache, dizziness and difficulty of breathing because these could mean a serious condition. Do not have a second thought in informing your doctor.

Bloodshot Eyes Causes

Bloodshot eyes can either have benign or serious causes. There are some considerations for you to take it as something emergency or non-emergency. It is, however, difficult to know whether or not having bloodshot eyes should be given a red flag unless the underlying cause is known. The common causes of bloodshot eyes can be allergic, infectious or traumatic in origin. However, there are also other probable causes of bloodshot eyes aside from the ones previously mentioned. Furthermore, bloodshot eyes can be due to the following:

Allergic Causes

Bloodshot eyes may be due to a number of substances naturally found in the environment which have the possibility to trigger either mild or severe allergic reactions.

  • Allergic reaction to any substance
  • Allergic reaction from an insect bite such as bee sting
  • Allergy to certain medications such as penicillin and codeine
  • Hay fever- A form of allergy that develops in the event that one is exposed to pet dander, pollens, cosmetics and dust particles

Infectious Causes

An underlying infectious process would also lead to the development of bloodshot eyes which include:

  • Bacterial/viral conjunctivitis in which the surface of the eye becomes inflamed
  • Blepharitis- A condition wherein the eye follicle becomes inflamed
  • Blocked oil gland or chalazion formation
  • Common Cold
  • Infected tear duct or dacryocystitis
  • Sinusitis

There are several infections, especially those involving the eyes that would lead to bloodshot eyes development.

Traumatic Causes

Accidentally sustaining physical injury to the eyes may also cause bloodshot eyes.

  • Wearing contact lenses that may irritate the eyes
  • Eye surgery
  • Coughing and bearing down
  • Burns involving the face
  • Hyphema- This is a form of bleeding inside the eyes, specifically just behind the cornea
  • Small foreign matters coming in contact with your eyes
  • Corneal scratches

There can also be other possible causes of bloodshot eyes and these include conditions like acute glaucoma, turned-out eyelid or Ectropion, turned-in eyelid or Entropion, dehydration, dry eyes, eye strain and fatigue and countless more.

Bloodshot Eyes Treatment

Treatment for bloodshot eyes can either be given immediately or just delayed, depending on the underlying circumstance. Nevertheless, it is crucial that you consult your doctor when you have noted reddening of your eyes for these to be further evaluated. Some of the common modes of treating bloodshot eyes include the following:

Eye drops

You may actually first try to remedy bloodshot eyes with some over-the-counter eye drops. A lot of people are doing this and they seem to find relief after introducing the solution to their eyes. However, when your condition does not seem to improve after several applications, you should already see a doctor because this could mean something.

Cold compress

You may also try applying cold compress to your eyes. This would help soothe the irritation, pain, swelling and redness.

Eye Irrigation

It would also help relieve the discomfort of having bloodshot eyes by irrigating them with lukewarm water. This would help flush whatever is irritating your eyes. There are also some ready-to-use eye solutions developed for irrigation.

However, when none of the previously mentioned remedies seem to effectively work for you then it’s about time that you make an appointment with your doctor because there may be some underlying serious conditions that need immediate treatment. It is also very important not to aggravate your condition by frequently touching your eyes as this will just further irritate it. It also helps prevent the development of bloodshot eyes by observing a healthy lifestyle which includes getting ample amount of sleep, eradicating the presence of possible allergens such as pet dander, dust and irritating cosmetics. Loading yourself with foods rich in vitamins A and E would also help prevent having bloodshot eyes.

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