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What causes bloodshot eyes and red eyes?

Updated on December 14, 2013
Bloodshot eyes can be due to dryness
Bloodshot eyes can be due to dryness

If you are reading this, it probably means that you are suffering from frequent occurrences of red eyes. There are various reasons for getting bloodshot eyes. The problem can result from inadequate environmental factors, daily work habits, infections or other physiological conditions.

Environmental factors can irritate bloodshot eyes

Let’s start with the first two causes since they are easier to prevent and manage with proper awareness. Your environment or daily work habits could be the reason for your red eyes. Consider your surrounding environment where you spend most of your day. Is it typically dry or dusty? Are you surrounded by smoke or dirty air in your workplace? Toxins in the air can irritate our eyes and cause redness to occur. If you believe this could be the cause, try cleaning up the work area or avoiding it altogether if possible. Otherwise, if you must be present and it is difficult to change work locations, wear safety glasses or some other form of eye protection.

The same holds true for particularly dry environments, especially during the winter months. Dryness is probably the number one cause of bloodshot eyes for most people. Use a humidifier in the room to relieve the redness. Take frequent breaks and try applying eye drops to keep your eyes moist. Never use expired eye drops or it could make your condition worse.

Try eye drops to sooth bloodshot eyes
Try eye drops to sooth bloodshot eyes

Bad habits cause red eyes

Another guilty culprit for what causes bloodshot eyes is your daily work habits. Do you work in front of a computer monitor all day? Do you frequently have a burning sensation in your eyes? If so, you could have computer vision syndrome. When look at a computer monitor for extended periods we tend to blink less. This causes our eyes to become dry and bloodshot. Staring at a nearby screen for longer than an hour is much to long and you should give your eyes a rest. To relieve the redness, take frequent breaks and avoid looking at the monitor for 20 minutes. It is important to give your eyes the rest they need so that they can rehydrate naturally.

Some people have a bad habit of rubbing their eyes. You may not be conscious of it, but you would be surprised how often you do it throughout a day. If your hands are particularly dirty, then your eyes could be in trouble. Wash your hands often and avoid rubbing them if you can resist the temptation. You will drastically cut down on colds, prevent red eyes and possibly other infections too.

Use a humidifier to relieve red eyes
Use a humidifier to relieve red eyes

Serious eye conditions

On a more serious note, some red eye problems are caused by infections. If your eyes are extremely red, then you should take the necessary precautions and consult your doctor to diagnose any threatening problems. Glaucoma, corneal ulcers and other urgent conditions should be treated immediately upon diagnosis. If you notice any pain, blurred vision or swelling of your eyes, consult a physician as soon as possible.

There are other explanations for what causes bloodshot eyes, but it is important to be aware of the most common factors before panicking. The easiest remedy can sometimes be as simple as getting more sleep. However, when in doubt, it’s best to see an eye specialist.

For more information about red eyes or how to cure pink eye fast, visit How Top 10 Solutions Guide.

Video: Doctor tips for bloodshot eyes

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    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Interesting read :)