Red Eyes

It involves inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inside of the eyelid. Eye redness may also be due to swollen or dilated blood vessels, which cause the surface of the eye to look red, or bloodshot. It is often times an ophthalmologic emergency.

Causes include:

  • Bacterial or viral infection- can be spread from person to person
  • Allergies
  • Blepharitis -- Swelling of the eyelash along the edge of the eyelid.
  • Conjuctivitis -- Swelling or infection of the tissue that lines the eyelids and coats the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva). This is often referred to as "pink eye."
  • Corneal ulcers-- Ulcers on the outer covering of the eye, usually because of a bacterial or viral infection.
  • Uveitis -- Swelling of the uvea, which includes the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. This is often related to an autoimmune disorder, infection, or exposure to toxins. Often, only the iris is inflamed, which is called iritis.
  • Contact lens products, eye drops, or eye ointments
  • Straining or coughing This can lead to a bright red, dense bloody area on the white part of the eye. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage

It can cause swelling, itching, burning, discharge, sensitivity to light and redness


It is important to visit an eye doctor so as to establish a diagnosis because treatment depends on cause.