Red eyes can spark a lot of annoying questions put by 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 fells, mentions Andrew Holzman, M.D ., ophthalmologist and regional medical administrator of TLC Laser Eye Centre in Maryland.
( For 2,000+ other tips-off on how to live your best life, check out the Mens Health Better Man Project .)
Here are 10 possible culprits, and how you are able to set them.
# 1. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOUR EYES ARE DRY .
When your eyes are dry, they become irritated 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 hour staring at computer screens, mentions Dr. Holzman.
We dont blink as much when we look at screens, which causes dryness, he says.
Other symptoms : Burning, bite, and a gritty kind of feelinglike something is in your eye.
How to fix it : Artificial tears can moisten 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, mentions Dr. Holzman.
You can also try the 20 -2 0-20 regulation to help reset your winkings 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 assistance, you could have chronic dry eye, so see your doctor.
He or she might prescribe eye fells 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 induce your eyes itchy, you end up rubbing 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 compresses to your eyes for 15 minutes several times a day, mentions Dr. Holzman.
Then, talk with your primary care doctor to figure out the best route to keep your allergies under control. He or she might recommend antihistamines, which lessens your bodys response to allergens and ease inflammation.
Related : How Your Allergy Meds Can Affect Your Gains At the Gym
But because antihistamines induce 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 leave them red.
Sleeping capsules, anti-anxiety meds, and even pain relievers like ibuprofen can also cause dryness and redness.
These medications can reduce blood flow to tissue in and around your eye, constructing it dry and red, mentions Jeffrey Anshel, O.D ., optometrist and founder of the Ocular Nutrition Society.
How to fix it : Get quick aid from the drynessand rednesswith artificial tears.
But for longer-term aid, talk with medical doctors who prescribed your drug. He or she may be able to adjust your dose, 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 nighttime tossing and turning, your eyes is very likely to appear 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 have contributed to redness, mentions 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 hour focusing on things both close up and far off.
How to fix it : Again, artificial tears can help you re-moisturize your parched tear layers, Dr. Anshel mentions. Get 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 causes your blood vessels to relax, Dr. Holzman mentions. That allows more blood to flow through the vessels in your eyes, so they appear redder.
Other symptoms : Headache, dehydration, nausea, and feeling like garbage overall.
Related : 11 Way to Cure a Nasty Hangover
How to fix it : Use an over-the-counter eye whitening plummet, like Visine.
It studies by constricting blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to your eyes so they appear less red, mentions Dr. Holzman.
Itll ease the redness within 15 minutes or so. Just dont go overboard( Learn #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 dilating your blood vessels. And that signifies 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 eyesight 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 strike in one or both eyes.
Its highly contagious, so its easy to spread from one eye to the other by only rubbing your eyes, Dr. Holzman says.
The infection causes inflammation in and around your eye, which makes it appear 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 analyse your eyes is required to determine whether your pink eye is viral or bacterial.
Related : Why You Should Learn Your Eye Doctor RegularlyEven If You Reckon Your Vision Is Great
If its viral, youll likely have to wait it out, which can take two to three weeks.( Steroid eye plummets could help the redness and swelling for really bad viral infections, Dr. Holzman mentions .)
If its bacterial, medical doctors will prescribe antibiotic eye fells, which will start relieving your symptoms within a couple of days.
# 8. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU JUST WENT SWIMMING .
The salt in ocean water is drying, which leads to redness.
And pools contain caustic chemicals, like chlorine, that actually kill off some of the good bacteria in your eyeswhich can lead to irritation 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 vexing gunk and ease the redness, Dr. Anshel mentions. And if you wore contacts while swimming, take them out and clean them ASAP.
Next time, wear goggles to keep the salt and chemicals out of your eyes.
# 9. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU POPPED A BLOOD VESSEL .
Popped blood vessels can happen if you were straining( like coughing intensely ), if you slept in a weird position that set a lot of pressure on your eye, or experienced certain kinds of traumalike get punched or being in a car accident.
When a blood vessel volleys, blood get trapped under the surface of your eye.
That can cause a bright red splotch, or induce 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 slightly 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, mentions Dr. Holzman.
#10. CAUSE OF RED EYES: YOU WENT CRAZY WITH THE VISINE
Weirdly, eye whitening fells can actually induce your redness trouble worse.
Thats because the fells operate by constricting the blood vessels in your eyes to reduce blood flow.
If you use the fells on a regular basis, your body will adapt to the fells, Dr. Holzman mentions. Then when you stop, you end up get a rebound influence where your blood vessels distend and your eyes start to look red.
Related : Gambling Addictions, Purple Sweat, Driving While Asleepthe Scary Side Effects Of Popular Meds
Other symptoms : Theyll differ, depending on the underlying issue thats constructing your eyes red( like drinking, smoking, or allergies ).
How to fix it : Using eye whitening fells once in a while( like after a nighttime 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 inducing your redness( often, its dryness, Dr. Holzman mentions ).
Once you figure out the root cause, you are able to treat it.
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com .