“Bloodshot” eyes are eyes that appear red and irritated. This phenomenon is caused by blood vessels becoming dilated near the surface of the eye. Most people have the experience at some point of looking into the mirror and being greeted by their own red, bloodshot eyes. It can sometimes be challenging to determine exactly what has caused the eyes to become bloodshot. It is not uncommon to be left thinking “why are my eyes bloodshot?”

Causes of bloodshot eyes

Bloodshot eyes can have any number of causes. Some of the most common causes are listed below:

Dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eye’s tears are not enough to keep the eye adequately lubricated. This can lead to irritation and redness.

Computer Eye Strain. Computer eye strain occurs when the eye’s become overly dry due to limited blinking while focusing on a computer, television, or tablet screen.

Contact Lens Use. Contacts lenses can cause irritation if worn for an extended period of time, or if they are not used with proper hygiene.

Allergies. Seasonal or environmental allergies can commonly cause bloodshot eyes.

Frequent use of eye drops. Overuse of eye drops that are meant to fight red eye can actually lead to the eyes becoming bloodshot more frequently.

Pregnancy. Hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can lead to less tear production. This can cause bloodshot eyes.

Eye Injury. Even a minor eye injury can cause the eye to become extremely bloodshot. Simply poking the eye is enough to cause noticeable eye irritation.

Eye infection. Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, can make the eye extremely red due to the irritation of the conjunctiva.

Cures for bloodshot eyes

If you are able to determine the cause of your bloodshot eyes, the next question you are likely asking is how to get rid of bloodshot eyes. Just as the causes of eye redness are extremely varied, the treatments are as well. At home remedies include using over the counter eye drops to lubricate the eyes or using a warm compress for several minutes at a time over the eyes.

The best course of action is to first visit your eye doctor to determine the exact cause of your eye redness. Some causes, such as eye infection, may require medication from your doctor. Even if no medication is necessary, it is best to rule out more serious causes by speaking with your doctor.