November 18, 2020

Red Eye causes and remedies

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.

Tiny blood vessels in the eyes

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.

Using digital devices for hours can cause red eye

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

Wrap ice in towel to make a cold compress for your eyes

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.

Why are my eyes red or bloodshot

3. Fennel seeds

Fennel helps decrease pressure in the eyes and aids in blood vessel dilation

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.

4. Chamomile

Anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile can help soothe and get rid of red 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

Dip towel in warm milk and honey to make a cloth compress

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 helps constrict blood vessels and reduce redness

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 –

SaleBestseller No. 1
LUMIFY Redness Reliever Eye Drops 0.25 Ounce (7.5mL)
  • Eye Drops for Red Eyes: LUMIFY significantly reduces redness to help reveal your eyes' natural radiance. From the eye care experts at Bausch and Lomb, LUMIFY works in 1 minute and lasts up to 8 hours
  • LUMIFY is different: The only OTC drop to contain brimonidine. It selectively targets redness, alleviating some potential side effects associated with other redness relief drops, when used as directed
  • LUMIFY contains no bleach or dyes. It’s the Number 1 Eye Doctor recommended redness reliever (data on file)
  • Eye Care Experts at Bausch and Lomb: For over 150 years, we have focused on innovation and quality in eye care products, from contact lenses and solutions to eye drops, ointments, eye vitamins, and more
Bestseller No. 2
Visine Red Eye Comfort Redness Relief Eye Drops to Help Relieve Red Eyes Due to Minor Eye Irritations Fast, Tetrahydrozoline HCl, 0.5 fl. oz
  • 0.5-fluid ounce bottle of Visine Red Eye Comfort Redness Relief Eye Drops to offer eye redness relief and gets the red out fast by working in 60 seconds
  • Relieve redness due to minor eye irritations like exposure to smoke, lack of sleep and extended screen time with a formula containing 0.05% tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride
  • The sterile eye drops help relieve red eye due to minor eye irritations
  • The small bottle is conveniently-sized and can be easily carried in your pocket, purse or bag for on-the-go relief anywhere
SaleBestseller No. 3
Rohto Maximum Redness Relief (9842)
  • 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
SaleBestseller No. 4
Clear Eyes Redness Eye Relief Eye Drops, 0.5 Fl Oz, Pack of 3
  • 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

About the author

Tim Russell

I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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