What are Bloodshot Eyes?
Bloodshot eyes are a term commonly used to describe red eyes. They are caused when the small blood vessels on the surface of the eye (sclera) become enlarged and congested with blood.
This occurs as a result of insufficient oxygen supply to the cornea or the tissues covering the eyes. Usually, bloodshot eyes are not really a cause for major concern but if eye pain or impaired vision occurs, this may be an indication of a serious problem.
A variation of this condition is a bright red, uniformly dense bloody area which forms on the sclera as a result of a small amount of bleeding. This bloody blotch usually occurs upon waking up in the morning. It does not hurt but looks awful, and will clear within a few days. This bloody blotch is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
Symptoms Which Occur in Conjunction with Bloodshot Eyes
The degree of redness usually does not correlate to how serious the situation is, but rather your overall state of health. As bloodshot eyes are usually not an isolated symptom and rather a result of another condition, taking into account the severity of other symptoms such as eye pain or impaired vision is important. Bloodshot eyes often occurs with other symptoms, including:
- Headache/neck pain
- Dryness/ dry eye
- Stomach ache/bloating/pain
- Swollen feet/hands
What Causes Bloodshot Eyes?
Bloodshot eyes are caused by a number of different reasons. While bloodshot eyes can occur at any time of the day, sometimes we are more prone to them after engaging in certain activities or the effects may be seen after a period of time, occasionally thus appearing overnight and visible in the morning, or after a long day of exposure and irritation.
Help for Bloodshot Eyes
In cases where fatigue and eyestrain are the causes of bloodshot eyes, treatment is generally not required. More serious cases of bloodshot eyes that do not clear up shortly may require you to consult with an ophthalmologist.
Eye drops are usually prescribed in order to provide relief for red eyes. Eyes may need irrigation with a normal saline solution to remove foreign bodies. If pink eye (conjunctivitis) is diagnosed, avoid touching the infected area and rubbing the other eye as this is a very contagious condition.
Tips for Treating and Preventing Bloodshot Eyes
- Splash cold water over closed eyes to provide relief for red eyes
- Apply a cold compress (ice-pack wrapped in a towel ) to the eyes
- Increase your intake of Vitamin A and B supplements
- Avoid cigarette smoke, chemical fumes, environmental toxins and sun exposure
- Wear preservative-free contact lenses
- Wear protective goggles if you are doing tasks that may produce airborne particles or dust (e.g. DIY).
A Diet to Help Bloodshot Eyes/ Specific Foods that Help Red Eyes
- Drink plenty of water, steam-distilled if possible
- Fresh fruits, especially flavonoid-rich berries such as blueberries, blackberries and cherries
- Foods rich in vitamins E and C, such as raw fruits and veggies
- Grains and legumes
- Essential fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and leafy vegetables, especially kale, spinach and mustard greens
- Calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D
- Flaxseed oil / Linseed oil
- Spirulina algae
- Barley grass
- Olive oil
Foods to Avoid/Limit
- Margarine and other hydrogenated fats
- Dairy products, especially hard cheeses
- Saturated fats
- Refined salt, table salt
- Chlorinated water
- Aspartame, MSG - Mono Sodium Glutamate and other food additives
- Sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and other foods containing similar concentrated sweeteners
- Refined oils
- Fried, smoked, grilled foods
- Soft drinks
- Alcoholic drinks