Bloodshot Eyes & Diet

Eye redness gives your eyes a bloodshot look, and this condition may stem from benign causes such as lack of sleep. You may have redness from eye conditions such as dry eye, infections or a broken blood vessel. In many cases, the bloodshot appearance will typically clear within a day or so, but additional or worsening symptoms require a visit to your doctor. Depending on the cause for your eye redness, diet could have a small role in reducing your symptoms.

A man rubbing his tired eyes.
Credit: seb_ra/iStock/Getty Images


The redness in the whites of your eyes may stem from inflammation in the outer tissues of the eyes. In these instances, choosing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation. Food choices include certain types of fish such as salmon and halibut. Walnuts, flaxseed and pumpkin seeds also provide omega-3. You may not notice quick relief, but these foods may help with gradual control of inflammation. If you have chronic eye redness, your doctor may recommend you take an omega-3 supplement to ensure you have a steady intake of this nutrient. Your supplement options include fish oil capsules or flaxseed oil capsules, both providing omega-3 fatty acids.


Dry eye also causes bloodshot eyes. Omega-3 may help with inflammation from this condition, but you may also need to increase your fluid intake. Dehydration occurs when you do not consume enough water or other fluids during the day, and dehydration may cause dry eye symptoms. The average person requires approximately eight glasses of water each day to maintain fluid balance. Once your body has sufficient fluids you may start to notice improved eye comfort, and redness should dissipate within a day or two. If you experience other symptoms such as dry mouth, lethargy and low urine output, you may be dehydrated. Severe dehydration requires prompt medical attention.

Other Treatments

Many conditions may cause eye redness, and, in many cases, diet cannot provide the necessary treatment to resolve the condition. Bloodshot eyes may result from an eye infection such as pink eye or from extremely high intraocular eye pressures. In these cases, you may need a prescription medication to treat the eye condition, and, once resolved, you will notice your eye redness and other symptoms will improve.


You need to contact your eye doctor if you experience unusual eye symptoms, particularly if you have pain, light sensitivity or vision changes. Prompt treatment will not only help you feel comfortable faster but may also help prevent further complications.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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