Red eyes can be the sign of a minor irritation or a serious medical condition, such as an infection. Bloodshot or red eyes occur when small blood vessels that are present on the surface of the eye become enlarged and congested with blood. This happens due to an insufficient amount of oxygen being supplied to the cornea or the tissues covering the eye. Bloodshot eyes by themselves are generally not a reason to be overly concerned, but when coupled with eye pain, abnormal drainage, or impaired vision this can indicate a serious medical problem.
Red eyes can develop suddenly or over time. Eye drops are helpful in many cases, and can be purchased over-the-counter or online. If the redness is not easing up and is accompanied by other symptoms, people should see a doctor. Eye injuries, contact lenses, and frequent use of eye drops can all cause irritation leading to red eyes. A doctor can help a person to pinpoint the cause of their red eye problem and develop a treatment plan. Common treatments include eye drops, antibiotics, creams, and oral medications. Most conditions are readily treatable and, if caught early, do not cause any permanent long-term damage.