Red Eyes: Causes, When to Go to the Doctor, Related Diseases and Treatment

If the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, the eyes injected with blood are the mirrors of your health, which lets you know that something happens either with your own eyes or in another part of your body.

Red eyes may be the sign of minor irritation or a serious medical condition, such as an infection. The cause may be a number of things, but red eyes are usually caused by one of two things: irritation or infection.

What is causing those red eyes?

But because many conditions can cause one or both eyes to acquire a reddish hue, it is not always easy to determine what is causing the redness and what to do about it.

The infection, known as ” conjunctivitis “, can be caused by a virus or bacteria, usually accompanied by other symptoms that include discharge, pain and burning, which are usually treated by doctors and prescription drugs.

Irritation, on the other hand, can be due to several things: allergies, dry eyes or exposure to chemicals; think about being in a bar with smoke for hours or in a chlorinated pool.

When the irritation arrives, it is likely to reach over-the-counter redness reduction drops such as Artificial Tears. And in the short term, that may be a temporary solution.

When to Get Medical Advice

Consult your GP for advice if you have red eyes that do not start to improve after a few days. Contact your immediate doctor immediately or go to the nearest accident and emergency department if:

  • You have a painful red eye.
  • You have other symptoms, including any changes in your vision, sensitivity to light, severe headache, and feeling unwell.
  • You have recently hurt your eye, particularly if something has pierced it.

Common causes of a red eye without pain, diseases related to red eyes:


It is an infection that includes swelling and irritation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and rotates back to cover the white part of the eye.

An infection of the conjunctiva irritates the blood vessels and causes them to swell. It is this inflammation that makes the white of the eyes look reddish or even a little pink.

Viruses cause up to 80 percent of all cases of conjunctivitis. The pink eye is frequent among school children and is very contagious.

The infection is commonly spread through direct contact with fingers or contaminated personal items. It is often associated with an upper respiratory infection and is spread through coughing.

Allergic conjunctivitis may be due to an allergy or an irritant such as dust. Wearing contact lenses for too long or not cleaning them properly can also cause conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis caused by allergies or irritants is not contagious.

People usually end up having pink eyes in both eyes because an infection can spread easily from one eye to another. The signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Excess production of tears.
  • Redness.
  • Secretion.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Poor vision
  • Grit sensation in one or both eyes.

A doctor can detect conjunctivitis by the reddish-pink developing eye or by the type of discharge present. People with bacterial conjunctivitis may not have the red eye, but they are likely to have a distinctive mucus discharge or drainage that is white, green or yellow.

To confirm the diagnosis, a doctor can perform a complete eye exam or take a sample of any ocular discharge for laboratory analysis.

If the outbreak is due to an allergy, a doctor may request an allergy test to determine the specific allergen that the person needs to avoid.

The treatment options for conjunctivitis depend on the type, so it is important to consult a doctor if you experience any of the signs and symptoms. The pink eye is not a serious condition and usually does not cause long-term vision problems. It will often clear up by itself.

To prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, people should wash their hands frequently and avoid rubbing their eyes. They should also avoid sharing eye drops, cosmetics, towels or pillow cases.

After bacterial or viral conjunctivitis disappears, people should discard the contact lenses, solutions or eye makeup they used while they were infected to prevent reinfection.

Corneal ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea that is usually caused by bacterial infections. They often appear after an eye injury, trauma or some other type of damage. Symptoms may include:

  • Red eyes.
  • Pain in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Mild to severe ocular discharge.
  • Reduced vision
  • A white spot on the cornea.

People with eyelid disorders, cold sores and those wearing contact lenses risk developing corneal ulcers.

The eyes are very susceptible to irritation of contact lenses, especially if the lenses are not handled safely, stored properly or cleaned properly.

Contact lenses can rub against the surface of the eye and slightly damage the outer cells. This damage can allow bacteria to penetrate the eye.

Other causes of corneal ulcers include:

  • Mushrooms.
  • Parasites
  • Virus.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Allergies
  • Generalized infection.
  • Abrasions or burns on the cornea.

Bell’s palsy

If not treated properly, corneal ulcers can cause severe loss of vision or even loss of an eye.

Treatment options include antibiotics or antifungal agents. Special drops may be prescribed to help relieve pain and reduce the possibility of complications. Severe cases may require a cornea transplant.

Dry Eye Syndrome

It is said that a person who does not produce enough tears or tears with enough quality to lubricate and nourish their eyes properly, suffers from dry eye or dry eye syndrome.

A medical condition, hormonal changes and even some medications can cause dry eye syndrome. Chronic dry eye can cause the surface of the eye to become inflamed and irritated, giving the eyes a red appearance. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Burning or burning in the eyes.
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Pain and redness in the eye.
  • Excessive tears
  • Discomfort when using contact lenses.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Eye fatigue.
  • Fibrous ocular discharge.
  • Increased discomfort after watching television or reading.

Only a doctor can determine if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing the dry eye. An ophthalmologist can perform tests to measure the production of tears if necessary.

The dry eye is incurable but can be treated. For mild cases, there are over-the-counter medications that can be helpful, such as artificial tears, gels and ointments.

Treatment options include artificial tears, prescription eye drops, or surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

The anti-inflammatory drug cyclosporine is the main recipe currently available to treat dry eye. Helps reduce corneal damage, increase tear production and reduce overall symptoms.

Other Causes

These are just some common disorders associated with red eyes. Others include:

  • Inflammation of the cornea, iris or white of the eye.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Too much exposure to the sun
  • Dust or other particles in the eye.
  • Injury.
  • Swim.
  • Smoking or drinking.
  • Environmental irritants or pollutants.

Common Causes of a Painful Red Eye

If your red eye is painful or if you have other symptoms, such as changes in vision, a doctor should evaluate you as soon as possible.


Uveitis is the inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. It is also known as iritis. In addition to a red eye, your eye may be sensitive to light, your eyes may be blurred, and you may have a headache.

Uveitis usually responds quickly to treatment with steroid medications to reduce inflammation. It rarely leads to serious problems.


Glaucoma is an ocular condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye with the brain, is damaged. Your eye will probably be very red and sore, and you may feel sick and see halos around the lights. Your vision may be blurry or cloudy.

If your GP thinks you may have glaucoma, you will be referred to an eye specialist called an ophthalmologist immediately. This is because it could cause a permanent loss of vision if it is not treated quickly.


Red eyes may develop suddenly or over time. Over-the-counter ophthalmic drops are useful in many cases, but if the redness is not relieved and is accompanied by other symptoms, people should consult a doctor.

Eye injuries, contact lenses and frequent use of eye drops can cause irritation and produce red eyes. A doctor can help a person identify the cause of their red eye problem and develop a treatment plan.

Common treatments include eye drops, antibiotics, creams and oral medications. Most conditions are easily treatable and, if detected early, do not cause long-term permanent damage.

Some serious medical conditions, including leukemia, sarcoidosis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, can also cause a red eye. As a result, obtaining an adequate diagnosis is essential.

People should not hesitate to contact their doctor if they have questions or concerns if their eyes are red.