Health Care

9 Reasons You Have Bloodshot Eyes—and How to Fix Them

Red, itchy, inflamed eyes are never easy to deal with. Find out what could be causing discomfort in your eye and how you can avoid it completely.

By Morgan Cutolo

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Dry eyesistock/parema

Dry eyes are one of the common causes for red and bloodshot eyes. When your eyes are dry they become irritated and inflamed, and inflammation causes redness. Dr. Svetlana Fisher of Specs Appeal Optometry says that while dry eyes are often caused by a dry climate, they can also be caused by looking at a computer screen for too long. Dr. Fisher recommends using artificial tears to help with dry eyes. Also try these home remedies for dry and irritated eyes.


“Many people are not aware that their household pets can cause bloodshot eyes,” says Dr. Fisher. She says that getting them groomed often and keeping their hair short can help with preventing your eyes from getting itchy and inflamed. Other allergies that cause bloodshot eyes are seasonal allergies and dust. Always make sure to keep your house clean, especially during seasons where there is a lot of pollen in the air. Another tip that Dr. Fisher recommends is changing out your carpets for hardwood floors. Beyond inflammation, allergies can also cause you to have watery eyes. To help, try applying a cold compress to your eyes multiple times a day or eye drops specifically for allergies.

Certain medicationsistock/AlexRaths

Many common medications that some people take on a daily basis can cause bloodshot eyes. Antihistamines, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety pills, and some pain relievers like ibuprofen cause dryness and redness by reducing blood flow to the tissue in and around the eye. Use artificial tears to help with the dryness. Here are secrets that your eye doctor isn’t telling you.

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Dr. Fisher says that older woman are much more prone to having dry, bloodshot eyes because of menopause. The changing levels and imbalance of hormones causes your eyes to be dry, which can lead to redness. Dr. Fisher recommends using ocular lubricants, artificial tears, or a hot compress. Here are other body symptoms of menopause.

Not enough sleep

Your eyes need the chance to recharge overnight. If you are getting less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, it could be causing bloodshot eyes. As a temporary fix, you can use moisturizing eye drops. But in the long run, it will be beneficial to work on normalizing your sleeping schedule and cutting out brightly lit screens at least one hour before bed to improve your quality of sleep. Also try these other secrets from sleep doctors to get a better night’s sleep.

Contact lensesistock/MorePixels

Contact lenses can cause red, dry, and itchy eyes since you are constantly touching your eye and because the contact lens can dry out. Having something on the eye constantly can cause irritation. If you find that you can’t wear your contacts for long periods of time because of irritation, talk to your eye doctor about switching brands.

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It is common to get both bacterial and viral infections in your eyes, especially if you are around children or use contact lenses. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is the most well-known infection. Dr. Fisher says that if you see any discharge from the eye, are experiencing pain, reduced vision, or sensitivity, you most likely have pink eye and should see a doctor immediately.


When you drink too much alcohol it causes your blood vessels to relax making your eyes look red. To reduce the redness, try an eye whitening drop such as Visine. It will constrict the blood vessels and get rid of your bloodshot eyes.

Popped blood vesselistock/Kurt-Drubbel

Popped blood vessels can happen when a lot of pressure or strain is put on your eye. Dr. Fisher says that it’s easy to tell if you’ve popped a blood vessel versus just having bloodshot eyes because it will only appear in one eye. If that happens, see an eye doctor immediately.

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