My Eyes Are Always Bloodshot: Why?

The terms "red eyes" and “bloodshot eyes” are interchangeable. “Red eyes” describes eyes that become bloodshot for any reason. Swelling of the blood vessels near the eye’s surface is what causes the color. But what’s more important is why the vessels swell in the first place. 

There are a number of innocuous causes of red eyes, and they can appear at any time. But an eye that’s constantly red isn't normal, and you need to seek medical help.

If your red eyes are irritated, sore, itchy, or painful, and if you live in the Aiea, Hawaii, area, ophthalmologist Luis C. Omphroy, MD, and our team at Omphroy Eye Care can determine what’s causing your bloodshot eyes and treat it effectively.

We offer same-day appointments, allowing us to determine if the cause is serious and implement a treatment plan so you can feel better as quickly as possible.

Causes of bloodshot eyes — serious or not

Red eyes may or may not be serious. If you have a speck of dust or pollen in your eye, that can irritate it, causing redness. But you can easily wash the dust out or take an antihistamine for the seasonal allergy, and you’re good to go. 

On the other hand, if your blood vessels are swollen from glaucoma, the disease is compromising your peripheral vision, and that’s far more serious.

Here are a number of the more common causes of bloodshot eyes, including their severity and how we treat them.


Seasonal allergies commonly produce burning and itching. The redness, though, comes from blood vessel dilation in the front of the eye. Dilation leads to fluid accumulation, and the eye swells as a result. 

You can treat allergies with at-home remedies such as cold compresses, over-the-counter (OTC) artificial tears, and OTC allergy medications. Systemic allergy medications, which affect the entire body, can actually dry out your eyes, so Dr. Omphroy may prescribe drops formulated to tackle your allergy symptoms.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Pink eye is swelling or an infection of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye. Pink eye can result from bacteria, viruses, toxic substances, or allergies. It's a common condition and usually isn’t serious. 

If the cause is bacterial, Dr. Omphroy can prescribe antibiotics. For viral or allergic conjunctivitis, DIY treatments, including compresses, fluids, and rest, are the best way forward; the infection will clear on its own.

But if you experience pain and vision changes along with the redness, you need to come into our office as soon as possible so Dr. Omphroy can determine what else is going on.


The uvea is the middle layer of the eyeball, and uveitis indicates inflammation in that area. Symptoms can come on abruptly and worsen quickly, causing pain, redness, floaters, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. 

Dr. Omphroy generally prescribes a steroid to address the inflammation and swelling while he attempts to diagnose the underlying cause. If he identifies it, he treats that as well. 

Uveitis must be addressed quickly to prevent complications, such as uveitic glaucoma or retinal and choroidal scarring.

Corneal abrasions and ulcers

The cornea is the clear, curved membrane that protects the front surface of the eye. Scratches on the cornea can come from a blow to the eye, a foreign object in the eye, or even contact lenses, and those scratches can lead to an infection. Slow-healing wounds may develop as a result of that infection, especially in diabetics, jeopardizing your sight. 

Redness occurs as immune cells flood the area, leading the blood vessels near the wound to become enlarged. 

A scratch or ulcer may become quite painful, as well as cause itchiness, discharge, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and a white spot on the cornea. 

If you experience any of these symptoms, make a same-day appointment with Dr. Omphroy, as the condition can lead to vision loss. Treatment depends on the severity of the wound.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

Another condition that causes bloodshot eyes and may also lead to vision loss is acute angle-closure glaucoma, which occurs when the intraocular pressure (fluid pressure inside the eye) rises quickly, leading to sudden and severe pain, and blurred vision in just one eye. 

This is a medical emergency. Call our office immediately to get timely treatment.

Get help for red eyes

Bloodshot eyes may be the result of just a routine allergy, or they could be an indicator of something serious. That’s why you should come into Omphroy Eye Care for an evaluation with Dr. Omphroy as soon as possible. 

Contact us today to make a same-day appointment so we can determine the nature and severity of your condition and treat it accordingly.

You Might Also Enjoy...

I Think I Have Floaters: Can You Help?

I Think I Have Floaters: Can You Help?

If you notice black dots swimming through your visual field, you have a condition called floaters, when part of the eye’s natural lubricant solidifies. Keep reading to learn when floaters are just floaters and when you have a medical emergency.
 Understanding the Different Types of Glaucoma

Understanding the Different Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an insidious eye disease that can destroy your vision without first presenting symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of the disease and what we can do about them.
How Can I Tell If I Need New Glasses?

How Can I Tell If I Need New Glasses?

Your eyes change as you get older, and even if you already wear glasses or contact lenses, you may need a prescription change. Here are a number of ways you can tell you need to update your glasses.
Why Are My Eyes Always Watering?

Why Are My Eyes Always Watering?

If your eyes are wet and drippy, believe it or not, you may have a condition called dry eye. Here’s what you need to know about the condition and the treatments that can help.