Seeing Red – What Causes Bloodshot Eyes?
We’re all familiar with bloodshot eyes, a condition where the white of the eye (the sclera) has become reddened or “bloodshot.” One or both eyes may look pink or red in some or all or the sclera. This happens because of the dilation of tiny blood vessels of the eye that become swollen because of environmental irritants such as pollen, chlorine from pools, air pollution or smoke, or because of specific eye problems.
So what’s causing your red, irritated eyes? There are many common causes, among which are allergies, eye fatigue/digital eye strain, and contact lens wear.
Sometimes, the redness can be due to an eye condition or disease that may be benign or more serious. The Mayo Clinc lists the following as possible causes for bloodshot eyes:
- Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation)
- Chalazion (a type of cyst on your eyelid)
- Complication from a recent eye surgery
- Contact lens complication
- Corneal abrasion (scratch): First aid
- 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)
- Eyedrops side effect or complication
- Foreign object in the eye: First aid
- 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)
If you’re not sure what’s causing your bloodshot eyes, it’s important to see your Atlantic Eye ophthalmolgist for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Call us at 732-222-7373.