Red eyes may occur when there is irritation or inflammation of the eyes. It is extremely common and can be due to various causes that range from harmless to serious. Eyes become red when the blood vessels in the eyes expand and become congested.
The eyes can become red when there is an insufficient amount of oxygen that is supplied to the tissues in the eye. While red eyes are generally not too much of a concern, when accompanied by symptoms such as abnormal discharge, pain, and decreased vision, it is important to seek medical attention. This article will highlight some of the commonest causes of red eyes.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, occurs when the conjunctiva is irritated or inflamed. Patients with conjunctivitis generally experience pain, itching, burning, swelling, excessive tearing, discharge, increased sensitivity to light, and slight blurring of vision.
Due to the inflammation and irritation, the blood vessels become swollen and make the whites of the eyes appear reddish or pink. Conjunctivitis is most commonly due to viruses. It can also be caused by bacteria, chemicals, and allergies. Infectious conjunctivitis (by viruses and bacteria) is extremely contagious. The infection commonly spreads through contaminated surfaces and fingers. Infectious causes of conjunctivitis are also often associated with upper respiratory symptoms.