How to Get Rid of Bloodshot Eyes

Bloodshot eyes develop for many reasons, including allergies, lack of sleep or a crying spell. No matter the cause, bloodshot eyes turn puffy and red, and it often feels like they're way too dry. The redness will eventually go away by itself, but if you're headed to work or an important event and need a fix now, a variety of remedies can help you get rid of the redness and inflammation fast.

Quick Fix

Step 1

Hold a cold compress over your eyes for 15 minutes. If you don't have a cold compress, use a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a wash cloth or a couple of chilled cucumber slices. This shrinks enlarged blood vessels, making them less noticeable. It works well if your eyes are red because of allergies.

Step 2

Apply a warm compress, such as a washcloth heated with warm water, if your bloodshot eyes were caused by a lack of sleep.

Step 3

Squirt lubricating eye drops into each bloodshot eye. Products labeled "natural tears" work well, and they're gentle on your eyes. Avoid frequently using drops that promise to remove redness, if possible. Repeated use of these products might eventually make bloodshot eyes worse.

Step 4

Pat a small amount of 1-percent hydrocortisone cream on your eyelids and under-eye skin. The cream helps reduce puffiness and inflammation.

Long-Term Treatment

Step 1

Run a humidifier when you're at home. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, so your eyes stay hydrated.

Step 2

Drink eight glasses of water or more per day. This gives your body the hydration it needs to ward off inflammation.

Step 3

Avoid smoking or going near second-hand smoke when you have bloodshot eyes. Cigarette smoke will irritate your eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • Cold compress, frozen vegetables or cucumber

  • Washcloth

  • Eye drops

  • Hydrocortisone cream, 1 percent

  • Humidifier

Tip

Your diet can help prevent bloodshot eyes. To avoid inflammation, eat foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and flaxseed oil. Foods high in riboflavin may also help. These include asparagus, milk, cheese, broccoli, spinach and yogurt.

If allergies cause your bloodshot eyes, ask your doctor about taking an antihistamine to ease the redness.

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