10 Causes of Bloodshot Eyes and How To Treat Them

It is possible that your eyes are one of the ways in which your body warns you that anything is amiss. A lack of sleep, discomfort from contact lenses, or a stye might be the cause of red, bloodshot eyes due to a variety of factors.

10 Causes of Bloodshot Eyes

It is important that you have a thorough understanding of the factors that lead to red eyes in order to better understand why your eyes may seem bloodshot and how to cure them.

Alcohol Use

If you have a hangover, you can notice that your eyes are bloodshot after you have consumed a significant amount of alcohol. Those are the effects that alcohol has on the eyes.

Alcohol causes the blood vessels in the eyes to expand, which results in an increase in the amount of blood that passes through them.”The more you drink, the more visible and red they appear against the whites of your eyes,” Jessica Lee, MD, assistant professor of vitreoretinal surgery in the department of ophthalmology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai, said in an interview with Health.


Eye drops available over-the-counter may help lessen redness. In addition, when the alcohol travels out of your system, the blood vessels will eventually revert to their natural state.


Eyes that are itchy, sensitive, and watery are all symptoms that might be caused by an allergic response. In addition to this, it may cause a blotchy redness that becomes even more severe if you scratch your eyes.

It is possible for almost anything to trigger an allergic response; however, dust, pollen, and pet dander are the most prevalent allergens.


Figuring out what caused the reaction, and avoiding exposure to it, will help the redness start to go away. You can also:

  • Take antihistamine medications
  • Use a cool compress or washcloth over closed eyes
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) eyedrops designed for allergies

Corneal Injuries

It is possible that you have red eyes as a result of damage to your cornea, which is the transparent front portion of your eye that assists in focusing light.

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A corneal abrasion is the term used to describe the condition that occurs when your cornea is scratched or scraped. Eye rubbing, fingernails, or dry eyes are all potential causes of this condition.The term “corneal lacerations” refers to cuts that occur on the cornea and may be caused by anything sharp going into the eye.


The use of a patch or a specialized contact lens may be necessary in cases of corneal abrasions. The use of eye drops that include moisturizing agents or antibiotics may also be recommended by an ophthalmologist or a medical eye specialist. It is possible that the abrasion may heal in as little as one to two days or as long as one week, depending on the extent of the abrasion.

If you have a cut on your cornea, you should seek medical assistance. Surgery is the standard therapy for removing foreign objects from the eye and preventing future damage to the eye. Patients often undergo surgery.


When fluid exerts an excessive amount of pressure on the eye, glaucoma may cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve that links the retina of the eye to the brain.

Redness is one of the first symptoms that may be seen in patients with angle-closure glaucoma, which is a kind of glaucoma. Other indications include the following:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Inner eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Swollen eyes


The kind of glaucoma that you have might have an effect on the treatment that you get. In order to treat you, the following may be utilized:

  • Eye drops
  • Laser treatment
  • Pills or IV medication to lower inner eye pressure
  • Surgery

Glaucoma is a condition that may lead to blindness; thus, if you have any suspicions that you could have it, you should see an eye care professional for a comprehensive examination. In cases of acute eye discomfort or abrupt vision loss, it is imperative to seek medical attention without delay.

Irritation From Contacts

In the event that you use contact lenses, it is essential that you use and care for them in the appropriate manner. A reddening of the eyes may result from failing to do so.

“Contact lenses can prevent enough oxygen from reaching your eyes, leaving you with bloodshot and irritated eyes,” as revealed by Dr. Lee. “If the lenses are worn too long or worn while sleeping, they can cause redness, infections, and in worst-case situations, corneal ulcers.”


Remove the lenses, but do not throw them away, and make an appointment with an eye care professional as soon as possible if you are experiencing discomfort from your contact lenses.

Additionally, you can prevent irritation issues by:

  • Closely following the lens care directions and cleansing them properly
  • Practicing good contact lens hygiene
  • Taking the contacts out before falling asleep


Irritation of contact lenses may also be linked to keratitis, which is another condition that may cause redness in the eyes. An open corneal sore is referred to as keratitis, which is also known as a corneal ulcer. The development of these ulcers may be the consequence of infections, corneal abrasions, dry eye syndrome, or abnormalities of the eyelids.


If you think you could have keratitis, you should see an eye care professional. If ulcers are not treated, they may cause damage to the eyes or even blindness.

Depending on the kind of germ—bacteria, fungus, or viral—that produced the ulcer, ophthalmologists may give prescription eyedrops to treat the condition. Following the administration of antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral eye drops, discomfort medicine and anti-inflammatory eye drops may be administered. In some instances, surgical intervention can be required to prevent scarring or to preserve vision.

Lack of Sleep

Bloodshot eyes are a common symptom of tired eyes that is caused by a lack of sleep. “If your eyes are kept open for a long time because of lack of sleep, it prevents the cornea [the surface of your eye] from being well lubricated, which can cause dryness and redness,” Dr. Lee further said.

There was a favorable association between persons who lacked sleep and dry eyes, according to the findings of one study that included academics.


Eye redness that is caused by fatigue may be treated by getting more sleep, if and when it is feasible to do so. Cool compresses and over-the-counter eye drops are also good options.

Pink Eye

A pink eye might be the cause of your bloodshot eyes. “Pink eye is the non-medical term for conjunctivitis—a bacterial, viral, or allergy-induced infection that leaves one or both eyes bright red, swollen, teary, and itchy,” Dr. Lee further stated.

Pink eye is fast-moving, despite the fact that it seldom has a significant consequence. Your eyes may get gummy and pinkish-red, and you may be unable to go to work for many days as a result of it.


A visit to a medical professional is not necessary for the treatment of pink eye. In any case, you should seek medical assistance if:

  • Eye pain becomes severe or worsens
  • A headache, light sensitivity, or vision changes accompany eye redness
  • The infection doesn’t go away in a few days
  • You have eyelid or eye area swelling and redness
  • You’re unsure if you have pink eye

To add insult to injury, the sort of pink eye you have will influence whether or not a medical professional can treat it. For instance, antibiotic eyedrops may be helpful in the event that the illness is caused by bacteria.


A stye is a little red lump that appears on your eyelid (or the bottom border of your eye) when an oil gland gets clogged. Styes may manifest themselves in a variety of ways.

All of them will look like a pimple, regardless of whether you have one or numerous of them. In addition to swelling and sensitivity, redness is one of the first indications that manifests itself. Styes are caused by bacteria, and virtually everyone will have a stye at some time in their lives.


Even if a stye does not impair your eyesight, it may nevertheless be a source of discomfort. When trying to get rid of it, it is often necessary to wait and allow it to vanish over the course of many days.

It is best to avoid popping the stye since touching it might make it worse. Both of these factors might make the illness worse. Seeing an ophthalmologist is recommended if you get styes on a regular basis since they may prescribe an antibiotic ointment.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

When a blood artery that is located under the surface of the eye ruptures, this results in a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The result of this is that blood becomes caught in the white of the eye, resulting in the formation of a vivid crimson patch.

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Hemorrhage that occurs behind the conjunctiva does not need treatment. It is quite unlikely that a hemorrhage may produce discomfort, drainage, or edema, despite the fact that it seems to be a dangerous condition. It often takes a few weeks for the red spot to disappear.


Eyes that are red and bloodshot may be caused by a variety of conditions, including allergies, corneal injuries, and styes. In most cases, a short course of antibiotics or even just a few eye drops are sufficient to remedy a number of these conditions. Nevertheless, the amount of therapy you need may vary based on the underlying reason.


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