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Red eye

Red eye: Introduction

Red eyes are an abnormal condition in which the whites of the eyes (sclera) are red.

Red eyes are a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions of the outer eye due to allergies, foreign body, infection, inflammation, trauma, chemical burns and other abnormal processes and conditions.

Red eyes can indicate a relatively benign condition, such as staying up late and feeling fatigued or getting a small foreign body, such as an eyelash, into the eyes. Red eyes can also be the result of a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as dry eye or an infection called conjunctivitis. Red eyes can also accompany serious conditions that can threaten vision, such as uveitis.

Depending on the cause, red eyes can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when red eyes occurs when a small foreign body, such as dust, is flushed out of the eye by tears. Red eyes can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when red eyes are due to dry eye.

Red eyes can be the result of conditions that cause inflammation, such as scleritis or uveitis. Reds eyes can also result from an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis or herpes simplex. Red eyes can also be a symptom of eye trauma, such as corneal abrasion, foreign body or chemical burns of the eyes. Subconjunctival hemorrhage is another cause of red eyes and is due to eye infection or eye trauma.

Red eyes can also be a sign of illegal or recreational drug use, such as marijuana use and alcohol intoxication.

Depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition that causes red eyes, it often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, such as tearing and eye pain. Complications of red eyes vary depending on the underlying cause. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of red eyes.

Diagnosing red eyes and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including an eye examination. An eye examination includes testing pupil response to light, visual acuity or sharpness of vision, checking the sharpness of peripheral vision, and testing the pressure inside the eye. The outer eye is examined using an instrument called a slit lamp, and the inner eye is examined using an instrument call an ophthalmoscope. Another test involves temporarily staining the eye with a special eye drop that makes a corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer visible to the clinician.

A diagnosis of red eyes and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because red eyes may be mild and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of red eyes.

Treatment of red eyes involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Many conditions and diseases that cause red eyes can be successfully treated and cured. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of red eyes....more »

Red eye: An inflammation of the eye may be conjunctivitis (which can itself be caused by several other conditions). The eyes can get red for numerous other reasons such as hangover, fever, allergies, hay fever, and other...more »

Red eye: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing red eyes and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, red eyes may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. Red eyes are a symptom of many different conditions, so a thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the reason for the red eyes. ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Red eye:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Red eye. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Red eye: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Red eye

Home medical tests possibly related to Red eye:

Causes of Types of Red eye:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Red eye:

Red eye: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Red eye, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Red eye Treatments

Treatment plans for red eyes are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying cause, protects vision, and helps to minimize pain that occurs with red eyes.

A common cause of red eyes is eye ...Red eye Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Red eye may include:

Review further information on Red eye Treatments.

Stories from Users for Red eye

Real-life user stories relating to Red eye:

Message Boards for Red eye

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Red eye or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Red eye:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Red eye. Some of these are listed below :

  • Eye inspection
    • Note the nature of the red eyes i.e. localized or diffuse redness - e.g. conjunctivitis has clearly defined vessels that covers the entire sclera (white of the eye); episcleritis and scleritis have larger blood shot vessels and are concentrated towards the cornea (coloured area of the eye); iritis has a parallel arrangement of vessels around the periphery of the cornea that are not clearly defined; subconjunctival hemorrhage is a beefy red localized hemorrhage with a definite margin.
    • If pain is present and is relieved by local anesthetic drops, this suggests a surface problem such as a corneal ulcer. If eye pain is unrelieved by the anesthetic drops, a deeper problem must be suspected such as iritis
    • View iris for any irregularity which may suggest intraocular foreign body
    • Stain the surface of the eye with fluorescein eye drops to view the cornea for any foreign bodies and defects. Note any dendritic (branching) ulceration typical of herpes simplex infection
    • Evert the eyelids searching for any foreign bodies, for fine follicles of viral infection or cobblestone follicles indicating viral conjunctivitis
  • more tests...»

Red eye: Animations

Medications or substances causing Red eye:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Red eye as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Red eye: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Red eye may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Red eye

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Red eye:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Red eye. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Red eye Assessment Questionnaire (24 listings)

Red eye: Deaths

Read more about causes and Red eye deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Red eye

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic more »

Red eye: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Red eye

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Red eye:

Red eye: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Red eye: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Red eye listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Red eye as a symptom include:

Organs affected by Red eye:

The list of organs typically affected by Red eye may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Red eye

The list below shows some of the causes of Red eye mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Red eye?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Red eye. Of the 630 causes of Red eye that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 8 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 3 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 13 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 609 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Red eye:

The following list of conditions have 'Red eye' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Red eye or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y

























Conditions listing medical complications: Red eye:

The following list of medical conditions have Red eye or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.











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Causes of Red eye Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Red eye based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Red eye?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Red eye, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    What are the alternative names for Red eye:

    Eye red, Bloodshot eye
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Red eye:

    Subtypes of Red eye:

    Bloodshot eyes (58 causes), Conjunctivitis (244 causes), Red eyelids (9 causes), Conjunctival Injection (25 causes), Eyelid infection (7 causes), Inflamed eyelids (9 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Red eye:

    Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Red eye:

    Eye pain (475 causes), Eye discharge (34 causes), Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Eyelid symptoms (911 causes), Puffy eyes (158 causes), Eye swelling (121 causes), Hyperemia, Scleritis (16 causes), Conjunctivitis (244 causes), Corneal ulcer (45 causes), Iridocyclitis, Iritis episcleritis, Subconjuctival hemorrhage

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Red eye

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Red eye and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Red eye

    Medical research papers related to Red eye include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Red Eyes:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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