Your eyes may appear red or bloodshot from time to time. If your eyes are red and there is no pain or change in vision, it might not be a big deal, but don't chance it. Sometimes, there is an underlying medical cause for eye redness that requires additional treatment. Contact your eye care professional if you experience these or any other symptoms with your red eyes: 

  • your red eyes last more than 1 to 2 days 
  • eye redness is accompanied by eye pain or vision changes
  • you are on a blood-thinning medicine
  • you may have an object in your eye
  • you are also sensitive to light
  • there is any discharge from one or both eyes

What Causes Red Eyes?

Eye redness is a common condition that occurs when various irritants and triggers cause blood vessels in any part of the eye to dilate and appear visibly red. Possible irritants and triggers may include:

  • dryness
  • overexposure to the sun
  • dust or particles in the eyes
  • allergies
  • chlorine or other pool chemicals
  • infection
  • injury

  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments for Red Eyes

    There is a wide range of OTC eye drops, each for a specific purpose; your eye care professional can help choose the right drop for the right symptom. Some examples are below:  

    Dry eyes use lubricating or artificial tear eye drops
    Red eyes use lubricant and decongestant (redness reliever) eye drops which will constrict the small blood vessels in the eye to help reduce eye redness
    Red, itchy eyes use an antihistamine eye drop to reduce itching and decongestant to reduce redness
    Itchy eyes use an eye drop with an antihistamine


    Red Spot in Eye

    If you notice a blood spot or red spot on you eye and know you haven't injured your eye, you may have what is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Did you cough or strain? You may have broken a blood vessel on the surface of your eye under the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva covers the front of the eye; when the blood vessel breaks under this layer, you cannot simply wipe it away. This generally doesn't hurt or affect your vision and should go away within a week or two.

    Note: OTC redness reliever eye drops shouldn't be used to treat subconjuntival hemorrhage redness.


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