Close up shot of bloodshot and red eye

Understanding Red And Bloodshot Eyes: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Explore the Factors Behind Red and Bloodshot Eyes

Are you experiencing red and bloodshot eyes and wondering what might be causing them? Redness in the eyes can be a common occurrence, often indicating irritation, inflammation, or an underlying eye condition. Understanding the potential causes helps determine when to seek professional care from DeCarlo Optometry and when home remedies suffice. Call us at (714) 996-1136 to book an appointment today and get the best eye care. Read on to discover more about these causes and what steps you can take to alleviate redness and promote overall eye health.

19 Reasons Why Do You Have Red and Bloodshot Eyes

1. Allergies

These are a leading cause of red and bloodshot eyes. When exposed to allergens such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites, your body releases histamines, which can cause your eyes to become red, itchy, and watery. Managing allergies through avoidance of triggers, over-the-counter antihistamines, or prescribed medications can help alleviate the symptoms.

2. Dry Eyes

If your eyes aren’t producing enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, you may experience redness and bloodshot eyes. Aging, environmental conditions, medications, or underlying health conditions can cause dry eyes. Artificial tears, lifestyle modifications, and prescription medications can relieve dry eyes.

3. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer covering the whites of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids. Viruses, bacteria, allergies, or irritants can cause it. Redness and bloodshot eyes are typical symptoms of conjunctivitis, accompanied by itching, tearing, and discharge. Treatment options depend on the cause and may include antibiotic or antihistamine eye drops.

4. Eye Injuries

Injuries to the eye, such as scratches, foreign objects, or trauma, can result in red and bloodshot eyes. The dilation of blood vessels causes redness as a response to the injury. If you’ve experienced an eye injury, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention to assess the extent of the damage and receive appropriate treatment.

5. Contact Lens Discomfort

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods or using ill-fitting lenses can cause redness and bloodshot eyes. It’s crucial to follow proper contact lens hygiene, including cleaning and disinfecting, and adhere to the recommended wearing schedule. If you experience persistent discomfort, consult with an eye care professional to assess the fit of your lenses or explore alternative options.

6. Computer Vision Syndrome

Extended periods of staring at digital screens can lead to red and bloodshot eyes, along with other symptoms collectively known as computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS can cause eye strain, dryness, blurred vision, and discomfort. Taking regular breaks, adjusting screen settings, and using artificial tears can help alleviate symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome.

7. Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, can also affect the eyes and lead to redness and bloodshot eyes. When allergens trigger an allergic reaction in the nasal passages, it can extend to the eyes, causing irritation and inflammation. Managing allergic rhinitis through allergen avoidance, medication, and allergy shots can help reduce eye-related symptoms.

Bloodshot Eyes
Bloodshot Eyes Causes

8. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that can cause red and bloodshot eyes due to the blockage of oil glands along the eyelid margin. Common symptoms include redness, itching, and crusting of the eyelids. Warm compresses, gentle eyelid hygiene, and prescribed medications can help manage blepharitis symptoms.

9. Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the eye breaks, resulting in a bright red patch on the white part of the eye. It can be caused by trauma, eye rubbing, or blood-thinning medications. While it may look alarming, subconjunctival hemorrhages are typically harmless and resolve on their own within a couple of weeks.

10. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. In some cases, glaucoma can cause red and bloodshot eyes. Other symptoms may include eye pain, blurred vision, and halos around lights. Early detection and treatment are essential in managing glaucoma and preserving vision.

11. Uveitis

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the eye’s middle layer. It can cause redness, bloodshot eyes, and other symptoms like eye pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. Uveitis can be associated with various underlying causes, including infections, autoimmune disorders, and systemic diseases. Prompt diagnosis and treatment by an eye specialist are crucial in managing uveitis.

12. Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea, usually caused by infections, injuries, or wearing contact lenses for too long. They can lead to red and bloodshot eyes and symptoms such as eye pain, blurry vision, and increased sensitivity to light. Treatment involves addressing the underlying cause, which may include antibiotics, antiviral medications, or in severe cases, surgery.

13. Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue, often experienced after prolonged reading, driving, or other visually demanding activities, can result in red and bloodshot eyes. Resting your eyes, practicing the 20-20-20 rule (looking away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away), and maintaining good lighting conditions can help prevent eye fatigue and minimize redness.

14. Irritants and Chemical Exposure

Exposure to irritants and chemicals, such as chlorine in swimming pools, smoke, or harsh cleaning products, can cause redness and bloodshot eyes. It’s essential to protect your eyes from such substances, use appropriate safety measures, and rinse your eyes thoroughly if exposed.

15. Foreign Objects

A foreign object entering your eye can cause irritation, redness, and discomfort. Instead, avoid rubbing your eyes and flush them with clean water or saline solution to remove the object. If the irritation persists, seek medical attention.

16. Conjunctival Melanoma

While rare, conjunctival melanoma is an eye cancer that can present as redness and bloodshot eyes. It can also cause changes in the appearance of the eye, such as dark spots or growths. Early detection and treatment are critical in managing conjunctival melanoma.

Bloodshot red eyes
Bloodshot red eyes

17. Corneal Abrasions

Corneal abrasions are superficial scratches on the cornea, often caused by trauma or foreign objects. They can result in red and bloodshot eyes accompanied by pain, tearing, and sensitivity to light. Treatment involves protecting the eye, lubricating eye drops, and sometimes applying a patch for healing.

18. Systemic Conditions

Certain systemic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases, can manifest symptoms in the eyes, including redness and bloodshot eyes. Proper management of the underlying condition and regular eye exams can help identify and address any eye-related complications.

19. Medications

Some medications, such as blood thinners or certain eye drops, can cause red and bloodshot eyes as a side effect. If you suspect your medication is causing eye redness, consult your healthcare provider for guidance on possible alternatives.

Remember, if you are experiencing persistent red and bloodshot eyes or are concerned about your eye health, it’s essential to consult with an eye care professional at DeCarlo Optometry. They can provide a comprehensive eye examination, diagnose the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate treatments or interventions.


In conclusion, red and bloodshot eyes can be caused by various factors, ranging from allergies and dry eyes to more severe conditions like glaucoma and uveitis. Identifying the root cause is essential in determining the appropriate course of action. If you’re experiencing persistent redness or have concerns about your eye health, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at DeCarlo Optometry. By taking proactive steps and seeking professional care, you can maintain healthy, clear eyes and enjoy optimal vision for years. Call (714) 996-1136 today to schedule your eye examination.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Subconjunctival hemorrhages, which are bright red patches on the white part of the eye caused by a broken blood vessel, typically resolve on their own within a couple of weeks without any specific treatment.

Depending on the cause, some home remedies may help alleviate eye redness. For example, using artificial tears for dry eyes, applying warm compresses for blepharitis, or avoiding allergens for allergic reactions.

While glaucoma can cause red and bloodshot eyes in some cases, it is typically accompanied by other symptoms such as eye pain, blurred vision, and halos around lights. Early detection and treatment are crucial in managing glaucoma and preserving vision.

Yes, conjunctivitis can be contagious depending on the underlying cause. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, in particular, can spread from person to person through direct contact or contaminated surfaces.

Yes, there are preventive measures you can take to reduce the occurrence of red and bloodshot eyes. These include protecting your eyes from irritants, practicing good hygiene with contact lenses, taking regular breaks from digital screens, and managing underlying conditions like allergies or dry eyes.