Bloodshot eyes refers to a condition in which there is redness of the whites of eyes. When the whites of eyes appear red, this is what is described as bloodshot eyes. A red eye may be alarming though it is not often a sign of a major condition. In most cases, it is just a minor eye condition like burst blood vessel or conjunctivitis. However, when the redness in whites of eye is accompanied by pain or other serious symptoms, then you may need to seek the help of a doctor as soon as you can.
Bloodshot eyes are often caused by mild conditions such as dehydration, eye fatigue, and overuse of contact lenses. The redness of eye may also be caused by allergy reactions and infections. At times, a bloodshot eye may indicate an emergent or progressing condition, which could possibly lead to loss of sight for example, a serious eye injury or acute glaucoma. Bloodshot eyes could begin abruptly and disappear within a short time, for example, when you have an allergic reaction to something like dust or animal danger.
At other times, the redness of whites of eyes may develop with time thereby making other symptoms to occur— this may be a sign that you have a more serious problem, for example— an infection or corneal ulcer. Treatment of bloodshot eyes should be done depending on the cause of the redness.
Treatment can range from hydration, rest, to medication and surgery. In case you have an unexplained and persistent redness in eyes or bloodshot eyes, you should seek prompt medical help. When the bloodshot eyes are accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of vision, pain, or signs of anaphylactic shock where the tongue is swollen and an individual experiences difficulty in breathing, hives, and swollen throat— these are signs of serious allergy reaction.
Eye redness or bloodshot eyes is most often caused by dilated or swelling blood vessels. When the vessels are dilated or swollen, they make the surface of eye look like bloodshot or red.
Causes of painless bloodshot eyes
The most likely causes of a painless red eye are minor problems such as conjunctivitis or a burst blood vessel. These conditions don’t tend to affect your vision and normally get better within a week or two. Conjunctivitis causes irritation and swelling of the thin layer that covers the eyeball and inner surfaces of eyelids. This layer is called the conjunctiva.
Conjunctivitis causes blood vessels of eyes to swell meaning that one or both eyes look red or bloodshot and they can feel gritty. Other symptoms, which you may experience, include things like sticky coating occurring on eyelashes and watering of eyes. Conjunctivitis is caused by an infection, irritants like dust or chlorine, or an allergy to pollen.
Burst blood vessel within the eye may be caused by things like coughing, straining, and injury. When the blood vessels bursts on eye surface, it may make it appear bright red blotch, and this is known as subconjunctival haemorrhage. When you are under medications such as blood thinners including wafarin and aspirin, they may prevent clotting of blood, which exacerbates the redness. However, this is not usually serious— it clears up on its own within a few days or weeks.
Causes of bloodshot eyes accompanied by pain
When you have bloodshot eyes with pain, it may be due to serious conditions. When you have a red eye and it is accompanied by other symptoms like loss of vision or pain, then you may need to be examined properly. You may be having conditions like iritis, acute glaucoma, or an ulcer on the cornea.
Iritis is inflammation or swelling of iris, and it is also known as anterior uveitis. In iritis, you may have red eye, and it is accompanied by sensitivity to light with a blurred vision and headache. Iritis, when treated in time, rarely leads to any severe problems.
Acute glaucoma is quite serious and if not treated in time, it could result in permanent loss of vision. Acute glaucoma presents in form of redness and painful eye. One may feel seek and begin seeing halos in lights. The vision becomes cloudy or blurred. Acute glaucoma is a condition in which there is sudden increase in pressure of the eye.
An ulcer on cornea or the outer layer found at front on eyeball may be caused by viral or bacterial infections. This could make the eye to be sensitive and look red. Sometimes, you may feel like there are some particles inside the eye. A scratch to cornea or presence of particles in eye may also cause the redness. A piece of grit, which has entered the eye, may make one to feel painful and develop redness in the whites of the eye.
Treatment of bloodshot eyes
When the redness is caused by things like allergy to some dust, you may not need treatment. It should clear with time when you get out of the allergy trigger or the dust and animal dander. However, when the redness signifies an underlying disease, you need to seek treatment immediately.
The doctor will offer treatment depending on the cause. In case you are experiencing bloodshot eyes when in contact lenses, remove them. Antibiotics may be used to treat infections that are causing the redness.