Bloodshot Eyes (Red Eyes) Causes and Treatments

11/29/2018 12:00:00 AM | Contact Lens King
Bloodshot Eyes (Red Eyes) Causes and Treatments

Although Bloodshot Eyes or Red Eyes are sometimes a result of conjunctivitis, there are many other causes that can render the same condition. As with other body organs, eyes, with the exception of their corneal tissue, contain blood vessels that transport oxygen and vital immunological cells that maintain eye health. When eye irritation occurs the body's normal immune system react by expanding blood vessels in an effort to deliver its defensive cells to the irritated area as quickly as possible. This reaction causes the white of the eyes to express a red or pinkish color. The intensity of the redness can be an indication of the severity of the irritation. There are many factors that can cause all of this to happen, however in this article we will limits its focus to 3 specific potential culprits: dry eyes, pink eye, and glaucoma.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes impact millions of people every year. The symptoms may range from mild discomfort to a more severe pain level. In some cases a person suffering from dry eyes may experience uncomfortable stinging, itching, and burning.

These symptoms can be the result of a variety of root causes ranging like the normal aging process which can limit the production of high quality tear fluid containing vital lubricant molecules that function to limit dehydration in the eye tissues. Environmental conditions, autoimmune disorders, allergies, hormonal changes, medication and/or trauma can also be causal issues. If left untreated these symptoms can damage the corneal tissues which can ultimately impact vision quality.

Once diagnosed with this condition an eye doctor can provide a few options for treatment. Some of these may include one or a combination of the following:

  • For a mild form of the disorder, an over the counter artificial tear drop solution may help
  • For more severe cases prescription drops may be used to reduce the inflammation
  • Blocking the tear ducts using specialized punctal plugs can reduce excessive tear drainage away from the eye tissues and allow the tear fluid to better bathe the surrounding tissues
  • Some over the counter prescription therapy could increase the natural production of tears

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Another form of bloodshot eyes or red eyes can be caused by Pink Eye, which is an inflammation of the thin tissue layer lining the surface of the inner eyelid and front of the eye. There are 3 main types of pink eye:

  • Contagious viral or bacterial infections of the eye
  • Allergies to allergens such as pollen, cosmetics, animals and certain fabrics
  • Irritations to chemicals found in air, fumes and swimming pools

In the instance of pink eye a person can resort to the following suggestions for the treatment of the disorder: 

  • Use damp cloth to help reduce swelling and redness
  • Consult an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis if symptoms persist

When it comes to pink eye the best form of treatment is taking appropriate preventative steps. Some of these steps include:

  • Keeping your hands away from your eyes
  • Wash your hands very regularly, do not share towels, washcloths, cosmetics or eye drops with others


Glaucoma is a disease that can damage a person’s optic nerve if left untreated. The net result can include partial or complete blindness. Ultimately the cause of this disorder is the buildup of pressure within the eye, where the nourishing fluid within the eye is unable to flow through the natural draining system and keep the eye’s internal pressure within safety margins. Apart from the dangers that this pressure can cause to the optic nerve located at the back of the eye, this pressure build up can sometimes cause the white of the eyes to seem red in color. Some other related symptoms may include:

  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision
  • Development of tunnel vision
  • Diminished central sight
  • Complete blindness

Although Glaucoma is considered to be a severe and dangerous disorder, early diagnosis and treatment will provide a highly successful and stable treatment of this often chronic disease. Some of the treatments may include:

  • Medication in eye drop or pill form
  • Laser Trabeculoplasty
  • Surgery

Everyone, at one point or another, has experienced blood shot eyes. Whether it's from swimming in a chlorinated pool or prolonged exposure to smoke in a crowded room the look is almost the same. In most cases there isn't much to be concerned with, however if the symptoms mentioned above last for an extended period of time it is important to consult your eye doctor.

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