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What causes bloodshot eyes?

Related Topics: Eyes

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
62,144 Helpful Votes

Eyes look red or bloodshot when the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva) expand and become swollen with blood. Most often, this is due to simple irritation of the eye, from allergies, dust, or dryness.

Red or bloodshot eyes are also symptoms of many different conditions that affect the eye. For example, having a deep red area on the white of the eye may be due to a subconjunctival hemorrhage, a usually harmless condition. Other eye conditions causing bloodshot eyes include:

  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation caused by infection or allergies)
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelash follicles on edges of the eyelids)
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the colored portion and middle layer of the eyeball)
  • Corneal ulcers (sores on the cornea, created by infection or injury)
  • Acute glaucoma (a sudden increase in pressure inside the eye)
  • Trauma or eye injury

It can be hard to tell if bloodshot eyes are due to a serious condition or not. Generally speaking, if bloodshot eyes are accompanied by pain, an injury, a change in vision, nausea and vomiting, or light sensitivity, see a doctor.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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