Red eyes can spark a lot of vexing questions from people wondering if youre sick, upset, or hungover.
But bloodshot eyes can be caused by a bunch of different things. Theyre often a sign of another problemlike dry eyes, too little sleep, or even overdoing it on certain eye drops-off, tells Andrew Holzman, M.D ., ophthalmologist and regional medical director of TLC Laser Eye Center in Maryland.
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Here are 10 possible perpetrators, and how you are able to fixing them.
# 1. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOUR EYES ARE DRY .
When your eyes are dry, they become peeved and inflamed. Its that inflammation that causes the redness.
Dry eye is more common in adults over 50, but it often affects younger people who invest a lot of day staring at computer screens, tells Dr. Holzman.
We dont blink as much when we look at screens, which causes dryness, he says.
Other symptoms : Burning, stinging, and a gritty sort of feelinglike something is in your eye.
How to fix it : Artificial tears can dampen your eyes, which reduces inflammation and eases the redness.
To keep the problem from coming back here, to continue efforts to blink more when youre at your computer, tells Dr. Holzman.
You can also try the 20 -2 0-20 regulation to help reset your blinks and reduce the dry-eye issues caused by staring at your computer: Every 20 minutes youre in front of a screen, focus on something 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
If that doesnt aid, you could have chronic dry eye, so see your doctor.
He or she might prescribe eye drops-off that reduce dryness-related inflammation, like Restasis.
# 2: CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU HAVE SEASONAL ALLERGIES .
Allergens like pollen and grass can cause swelling and inflammation in your eyes, which can lead to redness.
Because allergies likewise tend to build your eyes itchy, you end up scratching them, which creates even more inflammation and redness, Dr. Holzman says.
Other symptoms : Itchiness, sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes.
How to fix it : Ease the redness and inflammation by applying cold compress to your eyes for 15 minutes several times a day, tells Dr. Holzman.
Then, talk with your primary care physician to figure out the best behavior to keep your allergies under control. He or she might recommend antihistamines, which decrease your bodys response to allergens and ease inflammation.
Related : How Your Allergy Meds Can Affect Your Gains At the Gym
But because antihistamines build your eyes dry, you might also have to use artificial tears to prevent dryness and redness.
# 3: CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOURE TAKING CERTAIN MEDS .
Antihistamines arent the only medications that can potentially dry out your eyes and left open red.
Sleeping capsules, anti-anxiety meds, and even pain relievers like ibuprofen can also induce dryness and redness.
These medications can reduce blood flow to tissue in and around your eye, inducing it dry and cherry-red, tells Jeffrey Anshel, O.D ., optometrist and founder of the Ocular Nutrition Society.
How to fix it : Get quick succour from the drynessand rednesswith artificial tears.
But for longer-term succour, talk with the doctor who prescribed your drug. He or she may be able to adjust your dosage, or offer an alternative prescription with fewer side effects.
# 4: CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU HAVENT BEEN GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP .
Whether you stayed up late watching Netflix or expended half the night tossing and turning, your eyes is very likely to look a little bloodshot in the morning.
The eyes need to be closed for an extended period of time for your tear layers to regenerate and replenish. And loss of tears leads to redness, tells Dr. Anshel.
Other symptoms : You might find yourself squinting.
The eyes muscles need to recharge overnight, Dr. Anshel says.
If they dont get enough rest, youll have a harder day focusing on things both be closed down and far off.
How to fix it : Again, artificial tears can help you re-moisturize your parched tear layers, Dr. Anshel tells. Getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep can keep the dryness from coming back here.
# 5. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU DRANK TOO MUCH .
Its not only the fact that you didnt get home until daybreak.
Alcohol makes your blood vessels to relax, Dr. Holzman tells. That allows more blood to flow through the vessels in your eyes, so they look redder.
Other symptoms : Headache, dehydration, nausea, and seeming like garbage overall.
Related : 11 Way to Cure a Nasty Hangover
How to fix it : Use an over-the-counter eye whitening drop-off, like Visine.
It operates by constricting blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to your eyes so they look less cherry-red, tells Dr. Holzman.
Itll ease the redness within 15 minutes or so. Just dont go overboard( Determine #10 .)
# 6. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOURE A SMOKER, OR HUNG OUT WITH ONE .
Cigarette smoke causes the blood vessels in your eyes to constrict, which dries out the surface area of your eyes, Dr. Anshel says.
When your body senses the dryness and deficiency of blood flow, it tries to compensate by distending your blood vessels. And that entails more redness.
Other symptoms : You might notice dryness in the short term.
In the long-term, the blood vessel constricting-effects of smoking( or exposure to secondhand smoke) can elevate your risk for macular degeneration and cataractswhich can cause vision loss and even blindness.
How to fix it : If you smoke, take steps to quit smoking.
If not, seek fresh air. Your eyes should clear in about an hour, Dr. Anshel says.
# 7. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU HAVE PINK EYE .
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a viral or bacterial infection that can ten-strike in one or both eyes.
Its very contagious, so its easy to spread from one eye to the other by merely scratching your eyes, Dr. Holzman says.
The infection makes inflammation in and around your eye, which attains it look cherry-red and swollen.
Other symptoms : Itching or burning, watery eyes, mucus-like discharge, and sensitivity to light.
How to fix it : See your eye doctor, who can examine your eyes is required to determine whether your pink eye is viral or bacterial.
Related : Why You Should Determine Your Eye Doctor RegularlyEven If You Think Your Vision Is Great
If its viral, youll probably have to wait it out, which can take two to three weeks.( Steroid eye falls could help the redness and swelling for really bad viral infections, Dr. Holzman tells .)
If its bacterial, medical doctors will prescribe antibiotic eye drops-off, which will start relieving your symptoms within a couple of days.
# 8. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU JUST WENT SWIMMING .
The salt in ocean sea is drying, which leads to redness.
And ponds contain caustic compounds, like chlorine, that is really kill off some of the good bacteria in your eyeswhich can lead to annoyance and redness, Dr. Anshel says.
Other symptoms : Your eyes might also feel dry or irritated.
How to fix it : Flush your eyes with saline solution or artificial tears, which will wash out the annoy gunk and ease the redness, Dr. Anshel tells. And if you wore contacts while float, take them out and clean them ASAP.
Next time, wear goggles to keep the salt and compounds out of your eyes.
# 9. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU POPPED A BLOOD VESSEL .
Popped blood vessels can happen if only we straining( like coughing intensely ), if you slept in a weird position that set a lot of pressure on your eye, or experienced some kind of traumalike get punched or being in a car accident.
When a blood vessel flares, blood gets trapped under the surface of your eye.
That can cause a bright cherry-red splotch, or build the entire white of your eye turn blood red.
But popped blood vessels arent actually seriousthey just look bad, Dr. Holzman says.
Other symptoms : Popped blood vessels dont hurt, but your eye might seem somewhat heavy from the extra blood.
How to fix it : Unfortunately, theres nothing you can do to reduce the redness or speed up the healing.
It should go away on its own in about a few weeks, tells Dr. Holzman.
#10. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU WENT CRAZY WITH THE VISINE
Weirdly, eye whitening drops-off can actually build your redness difficulty worse.
Thats because the drops-off work by constricting the blood vessels in your eyes to reduce blood flow.
If you use the drops-off on a regular basis, your body will adapt to the drops-off, Dr. Holzman tells. Then when you stop, you end up get a rebound result where your blood vessels distend and your eyes start to look red.
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Other symptoms : Theyll differ, depending on the underlying issue thats inducing your eyes cherry-red( like drinking, smoking, or allergies ).
How to fix it : Using eye whitening drops-off once in a while( like after a night of drinking) is fine.
But if youre have them every day for more than a few weeks or two, see your eye doctor to figure out whats actually causing your redness( often, its dryness, Dr. Holzman tells ).
Once you figure out the root induce, you are able to treat it.
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com .