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15 common causes of red or bloodshot eyes you need to know

Are you prone to red and itchy eyes? Ophthalmologists say these are the most common causes of bloodshot eyes.

Written by Anuradha Varanasi |Updated : July 27, 2016 6:20 PM IST

Read this in HINDI

Your eyes are the window to your soul is a popular phrase. When you re sad, worried or angry, your eyes are the first to express these emotions. If you are prone to bloodshot or red eyes, it makes you look tired and stressed out. However, if you re wondering why you wake up with bloodshot eyes very often, it could be a symptom of a wide range of disorders, says Dr Sanjiv Gupta, Additional Director, Department of Ophthalmology at Jaypee hospital, Noida.

Other than having red eyes, if your eyes also feel itchy, irritated and sensitive, Dr Gupta says it could be a sign of one of these eye disorders or ailments:

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1. ConjunctivitisOphthalmologists say conjunctivitis, or what is more commonly known as pink eye, is the most common eye infection that causes bloodshot eyes. It is more common among children and occurs due to the inflammation of the conjunctiva or outer membrane of the eyeball. If your child has reddish pink eyes, avoid sending him to school as conjunctivitis is highly contagious.

2. Uveitis This is a type of inflammation of the middle layer of the eye between the retina and white of the eye. Other symptoms of uveitis include pain and blurred vision and if it is left untreated for long, it could lead to permanent vision loss. However, the cause of uveitis is still unknown and ophthalmologists say it could be triggered by an injury or infection.

3. Corneal ulcerIn this eye disorder, open sore forms on the cornea, which is caused due to improper use of contact lenses or an infection. Other symptoms include discharge from the eyes, pain, swelling and blurred vision.

4. Dry eyes syndromeYou could suffer from dry eyes when your eyes don t produce enough tears for lubrication. In some cases, poor quality tears could also result in dry eyes. Other than red eyes, your eyes will also feel itchy and sensitive.

5. Spending too much time in front of a screen If you have to spend hours on end in front of a computer, your eyes will start looking bloodshot. Take some breaks in between work to prevent this and consciously try to blink more often while working on your laptop. Avoid spending too much time on your smartphone for healthy eyes. Here s how your phone can ruin your eyes.

6. Repeatedly touching your eyes Another habit that can cause red eyes and also infections is making the mistake of repeatedly touching your eyes. Also, using sub standard make-up products can also cause irritations and eye infections. If you have to rub your eyes or clean them, use a tissue paper and avoid touching them directly as far as possible, says Dr Gupta.

7. Contact lenses Wearing your contact lenses for long periods of time and not taking adequate care while using them can cause red eyes and trigger eye irritations or fungal eye infections. Here are 10 do s and don t s for contact lens care.

8. HerpesOcular herpes is a viral infection caused by type 1 herpes simplex virus which could cause scarring of your cornea if it is left untreated for a long time. Other than red eyes, the symptoms of ocular or eyes herpes include swelling, pain, discharge with a watery consistency and light sensitivity.

9. Allergies Foreign particles like dust, pollen, chemicals and in some cases, even contact lens solution can trigger allergy in some people, which can cause a red eye. If you are prone to red eyes during certain seasons, consult your ophthalmologist for remedies.

10. GlaucomaAlong with red eyes, if you also experience pain in your eyes with vision loss and nausea, it could indicate glaucoma. Other symptoms include seeing halos around lights. Glaucoma can also cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. Here s how glaucoma is diagnosed and treated.

11. Swimming If you swim regularly, chlorine and some bacteria found in water can be the cause behind bloodshot eyes. Take care of your eyes by not wearing contact lenses while swimming and invest in a good pair of swim goggles.

12. Lack of sleep This is the most common cause of bloodshot eyes. If you sleep only for three to four hours every night, you will wake up with red eyes. If you have no other symptoms, getting adequate sleep of at least 7-8 hours will solve the problem.

13. Cold and flu If you re down with a common cold and flu, your eyes will appear bloodshot until your symptoms like coughing and sneezing subside.

14. Eye drops If you have the habit of using whitening eyedrops, relying on them in the long run will actually have the opposite effect and cause red eyes. Here are the do s and don t s of eye drops to maintain proper eye health.

15. Sty A sty or stye is a painful boil or pimple that forms on your upper or lower eyelid. This makes your eyes red, irritated and also extremely itchy. The main cause of a sty is a blocked gland and you can avoid it altogether by removing your eye make-up before bedtime and not touching your eyes repeatedly. Here are 9 more expert recommended ways to prevent a stye or eye pimple.

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