It’s always slightly scary to check your eyes in the mirror and notice they’ve turned an unnatural shade of red. This usually goes away on its own, but if you’re experiencing bloodshot eyes and are curious to know why you’ll find this video pretty interesting.
So, what exactly is red eye? As the name suggests, it’s a condition where the white of the eye, known as the sclera, takes on a red or bloodshot appearance. This might mean there are several squiggly pink or red lines on the white of your eye, or your entire eye might have taken on a shade of pink or red.
Red eye might affect one or both of your eyes. It’s fairly common and can be associated with quite a few eye symptoms, including irritation, burning, itching, dryness, pain, watering, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Equally, though, you can get bloodshot eyes with absolutely no symptoms other than redness.
What causes red eyes?
When your eyes turn red, there’s science behind what you can see on the outside. The redness is caused by the dilation of tiny blood vessels that are located between the white of the eye and the clear layer that coats the eye.
These tiny blood vessels can become swollen because of environmental or lifestyle-related reasons or because of specific eye problems. The majority of these blood vessels are usually invisible, but when they swell, they become more obvious in the eye, making the eye look red.
Red eyes can be caused by a whole host of unrelated factors, including allergies, eye fatigue, over-wearing contact lenses, or common eye infections such as conjunctivitis. In rarer cases, redness of the eye sometimes can signal a more serious eye condition or disease, like glaucoma.
The full list of causes for red eyes is quite a long one! It includes environmental causes, like airborne allergens, air pollution, smoke, dry air, and air conditioning, dust, airborne fumes, chemical exposure, and exposure to sunlight.
There are also a few common eye conditions that cause red eyes, including dry eyes, eye allergies, conjunctivitis, wearing contact lenses, and straining your eyes from reading small text or using digital devices.
Serious eye conditions that can cause red eyes include eye infections, eye trauma or injury, recent eye surgery, uveitis, and glaucoma.
Finally, lifestyle factors can contribute to your risk of getting red eye. For example, smoking can definitely cause red eyes, and so can significant alcohol consumption. If you use digital devices for hours on end every day, or you don’t get enough sleep, you’re also at higher risk of getting red eye.
So we can see that there are many, many causes of red eyes, and, in fact, it’s so common that we’ll probably all experience it from time to time throughout our lives. While it’s not always a cause for concern, red eye can be annoying to deal with – and doesn’t look too appealing, either.
Luckily, there are plenty of methods you can try for getting rid of red eye if it’s only a temporary problem. Let’s get into them.
1. Warm compress
Heat helps to increase blood flow to the affected area and can even help your eyes to create more lubrication. Just soak a towel in warm water, wring it out, and place it on your eyes for about 10 minutes.
2. Cold compress
Coldwater can help relieve swelling and irritation. The cooling sensation can also relieve discomfort for people with allergies that affect the eyes.
Simply splash your face with cold water to bring down any initial irritation, then wrap some ice cubes in a clean towel and lay it over your eyes.
3. Fennel seeds
Fennel has been found to help treat and prevent glaucoma, as it decreases pressure in the eyes and aids in blood vessel dilation. Just add half a teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of boiling water and leave it to cool completely.
Strain the seeds from the solution, then use the liquid to rinse your eyes.
If your red eyes are caused by allergies, the anti-inflammatory properties found in chamomile can help soothe the irritation and get rid of the redness. Add one teaspoon of chamomile flowers to one cup of water and boil.
Let the mixture cool, then strain the flowers out. Use the remaining liquid as an eyewash.
5. Warm milk and honey
Milk contains folic acid and other healthy vitamins. Honey also has strong antibacterial properties. Just mix half a cup of honey into half a cup of warm milk, then dip a clean cloth into the mixture.
Use the cloth as a compress, holding it gently against your eyes for around 20 minutes.
6. Cucumber slices
Cucumbers provide a cooling sensation to the eyes help to constrict blood vessels and reduce the appearance of redness. They also have anti-irritant properties that can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and irritation.
Cut two thin slices of fridge-cooled cucumber and place them over your closed eyes for approximately ten minutes.
7. Rose water
Rose water contains anti-bacterial and antiseptic agents, helping to protect the eyes from pollutants, redness, dust, and inflammation. Store your rose water in the fridge, then when you need it, dip a cotton ball in the solution and place it onto your closed eyes to soothe the redness.
Because red eye has so many causes, you should see an eye doctor right away if your eye redness doesn’t disappear after two to three days, especially if it’s causing pain or discomfort. Until you can see your eye doctor, follow the advice mentioned in this video. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to remove them and wear your glasses instead.
You can of course also purchase eye drops that can help with bloodshot eyes, check out the best ones below –
- From the # 1 global OTC eye care brand
- Provides the maximum level of redness relief to whiten red, irritated eyes and helps protect against further irritation
- Fast-acting formula with Freshkick technology brings instant cooling relief to your eyes
- Soothes and comforts eyes for up to 8 hours
- Clear eyes redness relief eye drops relieve redness from minor irritations and protect against further irritations
- Soothes and moisturizes to relieve redness
- Helps irritation, burning, and mild dry eyes
- From the number 1 brand of eye drops
- EYE DROPS FOR RED EYES: LUMIFY redness reliever eye drops significantly reduce redness to help reveal your eyes' natural radiance. From the eye care experts at Bausch + Lomb, LUMIFY works in 1 minute & lasts up to 8 hours.
- LUMIFY IS DIFFERENT: LUMIFY eye drops are one of a kind. LUMIFY is the only over-the-counter drop that contains the active ingredient brimonidine, which works to selectively target redness, alleviating some of the potential side effects associated with other redness relievers, when used as directed.
- FDA APPROVED: LUMIFY contains no bleach or dyes and is FDA approved. LUMIFY eye drops significantly reduce redness to help eyes appear whiter, brighter, and more radiant. It’s the #1 Eye Doctor recommended redness reliever (based on IQVIA survey)
- WHAT CAUSES EYE REDNESS? Eye redness, unrelated to infection or injury, is a common condition that can be caused by eye fatigue, dryness or dust, overexposure to the sun, allergies, swimming in chlorinated pools, or contact lenses.
- From the # 1 global OTC eye care brand
- Provides longer lasting dry eye relief vs. the leading brand
- Provides fast-acting, non-blurring relief, and superior comfort while soothing dry eyes for up to 12 hours
- Helps relieve 5 key dry eye symptoms: dryness, irritation, grittiness, burning, and stinging