Someone using eye drops.

What Are the Common Causes of Red Eyes?

Why Are My Eyes Always Red?

Are your eyes persistently red? Maybe they’re dry or itchy too. When you look in the mirror in the morning, do you think to yourself, “why are my eyes always red?” What’s going on? There are many reasons why your eyes may appear to be a reddish color. Some causes are easily treatable, but others may be more serious.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most common causes of red eyes, and how you can treat them.

Common Causes of Red Eyes

Red eyes are often nothing to panic about. Usually, it’s happening because of a mild irritant or just dry eyes. However, let’s explore some of these causes in a little more depth. What could be causing your eyes to become red?


Allergies are a common reason for red eyes. Pollen from various trees, flowers, or grasses outside can lead to itchy, red eyes. However, allergies aren’t only caused by the great outdoors. Indoor entities, such as dust or mold, may also cause an allergic reaction, leading to red eyes. Often, you will have other symptoms besides an abnormal eye color. You may sneeze uncontrollably, or your eyes may itch or burn. You may also experience a stuffed up nose.

Allergies frequently clear up when the trigger is removed. If you think you have an allergy but symptoms don’t lessen when the suspected trigger is removed, book an appointment with your doctor. They may prescribe allergy medication or perform allergy tests to determine your trigger and give you a proper diagnosis.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be caused by a lack of tears, or an incorrect consistency in the tears created by your eyes. This can become a more painful condition. In more rare cases, it can even lead to vision loss. Along with red eyes, dry eye symptoms include blurred vision, a burning sensation, eye fatigue, a lack of tears, discomfort with contact lenses, and heavy eyelids.

Minor dry eyes are treated with eye drops to help keep the eyes moist. Medications may also be recommended, or an underlying condition leading to dry eyes may be treated.


Your eyes can easily become infected. A small piece of bacteria or a small irritant can lead to inflammation and pain, and can create red eyes. The most common form of infection is called ‘pinkeye.’ Generally, eye drops help clear this up in a few days. However, it’s important to not touch your eye during this time since eye infections can be very contagious.

If you have other symptoms such as burning, itching, increased tears, unusual discharge from your eyes, or eye sensitivity along with redness in your eyes, chances are you have an infection. Try treating it with over-the-counter eye drops. If your condition persists or gets worse, book an appointment with your doctor.

Broken Blood Vessels

Tiny blood vessels in the eyes can break from intense sneezing, direct trauma to the eye, vomiting, or even simply rubbing your eye excessively. In this case, the eye doesn’t usually hurt, nor do you experience any other symptoms. Your red eye may be more prominent right around the broken blood vessel, but this also usually heals all on its own.

If any other symptoms are present, again, get your eye checked out by your doctor.


Glaucoma happens when fluid builds up in the eye and places pressure on the optic nerve. This can lead to vision problems and blindness. In fact, it’s one the leading causes of vision problems in individuals 60 years and older.

This condition usually doesn’t cause any pain, but in rare cases, some may have pain behind their eye, or experience headaches, halos in one’s vision, and nausea. Treatment usually entails prescription eye drops, other medication, surgery, or laser treatment.

Other Common Causes

Other common causes of red eyes may include:

  • An eye injury
  • Overuse of contact lenses
  • Scleritis (inflammation of the whites of the eyes)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Marijuana use
  • Bleeding issues

When Should You See Your Doctor?

Generally, if your symptoms persist for over a week, you should go visit your doctor and get it checked out. However, if any vision problems happen or severe pain occurs, you should seek immediate medical attention. If you take any blood thinners as medication and you begin experiencing red eyes, you should also visit your doctor. You may need an adjustment to your medication type or dosage.

Usually, at-home treatment is sufficient for the most common causes of red eyes. Red eyes are entirely preventable by washing your hands properly and avoiding hand contact with your eyes. This limits getting bacteria or irritants in the eye, which can cause them to become red.

Preventing Red Eyes

Use these tips to prevent your eyes from becoming red:

  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
  • Only wear your contact lenses as long as is recommended.
  • Ensure you remove all your makeup from around your eyes.
  • Make sure you properly clean your contact lenses, as per instructions.
  • Limit or avoid any activities that may lead to your eyes becoming strained.
  • If you get a substance in your eye, immediately flush it out with water.

Take the proper precautions to avoid red eyes; they don’t have to be your norm. In fact, they shouldn’t be! Find out what is causing it then prevent it from happening again. Further, ensure you seek proper treatment for your red eyes. Your vision isn’t something you want to mess around with.

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