Causes of Bloodshot Eyes


There are quite a few things that can cause an individual to develop bloodshot eyes. Some of these things are minor, and others could be more serious in nature. The eyes are some of the most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy, so they should be given special care.

bloodshot eye
bloodshot eye (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Common Causes of Bloodshot Eyes

Causes of bloodshot eyes can be either minor or major. Extreme eye strain, smoke getting in the eyes and fatigue are common causes. All of these things are just forms of minor irritation, and will pass in a short amount of time. Another very common cause of red eyes is the presence of chlorine on the surface. This usually happens to small children when swimming, or even adults whose eyes just are not well adjusted to the levels of the chemical in the water. Even an individual holding his breath for an extended period of time can get bloodshot eyes. This happens because the blood in the eyes builds up while breath is being held. It is cutting off air and blood supply and making the vessels in the eyes more visible. Dry eyes are probably the absolute most common reason for bloodshot eyes. Dryness in the eyes drains fluid that keeps the eyes clear. Dryness can be caused by dehydration, exposure to intense heat for a long period of time, or excessive rubbing of the eyes.

man smoking a cigarette
man smoking a cigarette (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Serious Causes of Bloodshot Eyes

Some more major causes of bloodshot eyes can be long-lasting diseases or illnesses. Herpes can unfortunately cause long-lasting and somewhat severe swelling in the eyes. Herpes present in the eyes is rare, but it is a possible condition. A corneal abrasion, which is a serious infection and subsequent swelling in the eye, can cause not only swelling, but also pain. It is also possible to get bloodshot eyes from the stress and pain of an ulcer, which can hinder normal bodily functions. Diphtheria is another infection that can cause eye irritation. It is an infectious bacterial disease that can spread from the nose and tonsils to the eyes, causing severe pain and definite irritation at times. Lastly, Vitamin C deficiency will cause bloodshot eyes as long as the individual remains low on calcium.

eye doctor looking into man's eye
eye doctor looking into man's eye (Image: Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

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