Ask the Doctor
Q. My eyes are always bloodshot. What does this mean and what can I do to make my whites whiter?
A. Redness in the eyes can be caused by many different things, but the most common cause is dry eyes. When the tear film on the front of the eyes is not functioning properly, the eyes can get dry. When the eyes get dry, inflammation sets in and causes the tiny blood vessels in the white part of the eye to become enlarged. This results in the eyes looking “bloodshot.” Many things can contribute to dry eyes including hours in front of a computer screen, dusty or dry environments, vents or fans blowing towards the eyes, and certain medications. Many times people will grab a bottle of Visine or other “get the red out” drops, but this is only a temporary cosmetic fix and doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Often times these drops can mask a bigger problem, so it’s better to use them sparingly or not at all. Once a patient is diagnosed with dry eyes, we can offer them a solution to get to the root of the problem and help reduce redness over time. Treatment options can include artificial tears, Omega-3 supplements, punctual plugs, and a prescription drop called Restasis. Other things that can cause the eyes to be bloodshot include allergies, a bacterial infection, pink eye, or other internal inflammatory eye conditions. If you are having chronic redness, itching, watery or mucous discharge, pain, or sensitivity to light, make an appointment with your eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.