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What Does Red Or Bloodshot Eyes Mean & How To Get Rid Of It?

The eyes are one of 5 integral sensory organs. Our eyes help us to see the world around us and as such it is difficult to imagine life without vision or with limited vision. Like any other organ; the eyes are susceptible to injury, inflammation and infection; however, the eyes are substantially more delicate than other sensory organs.

What Does Red Or Bloodshot Eyes Mean & How To Get Rid Of It?

What Does Red Or Bloodshot Eyes Mean?

Various ailments of the eyes exist and these ailments are caused by various factors. However, one of the most common ailments of the eyes are red eyes or bloodshot eyes. Redness of the eyes or bloodshot eyes is characterized by visible redness on the surface of the sclera (whites of the eyes). This redness may present as conspicuous tiny red squiggly lines or pronounced redness that covers the sclera. Various factors can cause red or bloodshot eyes and they are as listed below:

Environmental Factors That Can Cause Red or Bloodshot Eyes

  • Environmental Allergens.
  • Pollution in the air.
  • Smoke from cigarettes or a burning fire.
  • Arid climatic conditions.
  • Environmental fumes from various gases and solvents.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals; for example chlorine in private and public swimming pools.
  • Prolonged exposure to the UV rays of the sun.

Serious and Common Eye Conditions that Cause Red or Bloodshot Eyes

Both serious and common eye conditions can lead to redness of the eyes or bloodshot eyes. Some of the common conditions that may cause red eyes are: dry eyes, conjunctivitis, allergies of the eyes, wearing contact lenses and eye strain caused by overexposure to mobile phones, computer screens and TV screens.

Serious eye conditions, such as recent laser surgery, infections of the eyes, injury or trauma to the eyes, uveitis, acute glaucoma and corneal ulcers can also cause redness of the eyes or bloodshot eyes.

Accompanying Symptoms of Red or Bloodshot Eyes

One may notice one or more accompanying symptoms commonly associated with eye redness or bloodshot eyes. Itchiness, burning sensation, tearing up, irritation, dryness and pain are a few symptoms to look out for with red or bloodshot eyes. Additionally; one may experience discharge, sensitivity to light and blurred vision along with red eyes or bloodshot eyes.

How To Get Rid of Red or Bloodshot Eyes?

At this point; one must emphasize on the fact that the eyes are sensitive organs prone to damage. As such; your first course of action when experiencing bloodshot eyes with or without additional symptoms is to get to an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Under certain conditions you can proceed to implement measures for immediate relief; however, seek professional care if the first aid measures as listed below do not bring about a solution for red or bloodshot eyes. To get rid of red or bloodshot eyes, the underlying cause must be treated. Some of the treatment measures to get rid of red or bloodshot eyes include:

In case of conjunctivitis or dry eye, which are minor eye conditions; a doctor is likely to prescribe eye drops that will alleviate discomfort and reduce redness in a matter of few days. In the meantime; be sure to clean the corner of your eyes with a clean and dry tissue to remove any discharge and to prevent further infections. Seeking the right treatment will help you get rid of red or bloodshot eyes in no time.

When your eyes are exposed to gases and solvents that cause immediate irritation and redness; your first course of action is to thoroughly flush your eyes with water to remove gaseous or chemical residues. This is sure to bring some relief. However, if redness accompanied by burning, irritation and blurred vision persists; rush to the nearest ER.

If red or bloodshot eyes are accompanied by mild irritation due to exposure to smoke from cigarettes or burning fires; remove yourself from the source of the smoke.

Additionally; you can thoroughly wash your eyes with water to find that the eye redness will abate in a short time.

Improper contact lens wear can cause bloodshot eyes and even damage to the cornea. Prolonged contact lens wear is ill advised and it is best to remove your contact lenses and allow your eyes some rest. If red or bloodshot eyes are due to contact lens and are persistent; then visit an ophthalmologist to rule out damage to the sclera or cornea.

Overexposure to sunlight; especially the UV rays of the sun can cause redness or bloodshot eyes. When out in the sun; wear UV protective sunglasses if your eyes are sensitive to sunlight. If redness of the eyes occurs due to overexposure to the sun; stay indoors to reduce redness or consult an ophthalmologist in the absence of relief.

If dust and environmental pollutants get into your eyes and cause redness, itching and burning; wash your eyes thoroughly to get relief. If the problem of red or bloodshot eyes doesn’t resolve in a short while; make your way to the ER.


In conclusion; it is important to state that red eyes or bloodshot eyes are best treated with the help of an ophthalmologist, especially when the problem is persistent and the cause of the red or bloodshot eyes is of a more serious nature. Avoid unverified home remedies to treat red eyes except for washing the eyes with clean water.


  1. American Optometric Association. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye). https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/conjunctivitis
  2. American Optometric Association. Computer Vision Syndrome. https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/computer-vision-syndrome
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Uveitis. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/uveitis
  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Glaucoma. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Corneal Ulcer. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/corneal-ulcer
  6. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dry Eye Treatment. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/dry-eye-treatment

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 24, 2023

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