Red eye is a general term used to describe red, irritated and bloodshot eyes. A red eye is caused by swollen or dilated blood vessel on the “white” surface of the eye (Sclera).

This may occur following an inflammation of the structure inside the eye or the coverings and walls of the eye


Red eye can be from infection, trauma or an autoimmune process. Common causes include:

CONJUNCTIVITIS: from bacterial, viral and allergic causes. The common one is “Apollo” caused by Adenovirus.

ALLERGY: Red eyes often are referred to as “allergy eyes” given that eye redness is a common indicator of an allergic reaction.

EYE INJURY: Trauma or injury to the eye, can result in red, bloodshot eyes, sometimes accompanied by a sub conjunctival hemorrhage

DRY EYES: Dry eye sydrome occurs when your tear glands produce either an insufficient quantity or quality of tears to properly lubricate and nourish your eyes.

CORNEA ULCER/INFECTIONS: are potentially sight-threatening and should be treated as an emergency.

UVEITIS: This is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. It is characterized by red eyes, light sensivity and visual disturbances such as floaters and blurry vision.

GLAUCOMA: A sudden onset of painful, bright-red eyes acompanied by halos around lights, vision loss and nausa may signal acute angle-closure glaucoma.

COLD AND FLU: Bloodshot and puffy eyes, along with a runny nose, are common symptoms of a cold or flu.

PREGNANCY: The eyes may become red and bloodshot, as well as dry, itchy and sensitive to light during pregnncy. This is due to hormonal changes.

SMOKING: The cigarette smoking harms your eyes too and not just the heart and lungs and other organs

ENVIRONMENT AND WORKPLACE HAZARD: Extremely dry air, dust, smoke and excessive su exposure are known eye irritants.

Lack of Sleep: The appearance of your eyes is a dead giveaway when you’re tired.

Computer Vision Syndrome: Red, burning and tired eyes go hand-in-hand with staring at a computer screen for too long.


Red eyes can be accompanied by eye pain, itching, eye discharge, swollen eyes or visual disturbances such as blurry vision. In other cases, a red eye may cause no irritation at all.

Bloodshot eyes can develop over time or appear suddenly, particularly in response to allergies or an eye injury. More importantly, there may be deterioration in the person’s vision or even blindness in the affected eye


A red eye is an emergency because some of the causes can lead to (avoidable) blindness within a short period of time. It is therefore important for someone with a red eye, especially if accompanied with eye pain or deterioration in vision to see an Ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor) as soon as possible.

Some causes of red eyes however can be trivial. It may be safe to apply some antibiotic eye drops like Chloramphenicol into the eye as a first aid, but you never apply urine, breast milk, battery water or unprescribed steroid eye drops into the eye as this could lead to blindness.

The doctor would examine your eyes and prescribe appropriate medications for you


The easiest way to prevent having a red eye is by avoiding contact with someone who already has a red eye.

It is also important to wash your hands and face regularly and avoid putting your fingers into your eye. However once you develop a red eye, you need to see the doctor as soon as possible

Don’t forget if you have a Red Eye with Pain and Blurry or Poor Vision, See an Ophthalmologist IMMEDIATELY!!!