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What are Red Eyes?

A red eye is a symptom which indicates some problem with the eyes that is often minor. However, it may occasionally be seen along with pain and could signal a major issue. This may be due to swelling/inflammation of the eye following an infection called conjunctivitis, to bleeding inside the eye called subconjunctival haemorrhage.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

The main associated signs and symptoms of red eyes include:

  • Pain
  • Swollen eyes
  • Itchy eyes, sometimes watery.
  • A severe headache.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • In severe cases, changes in vision may also be a complaint.

What are the main causes?

The causes of red eyes include:

  • Foreign body entering the eyes, allergy or immunologic reaction.
  • Injury, which could be penetrating or blunt.
  • Chemical burns.
  • Bursting of blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Conditions, such as conjunctivitis, chalazion and keratitis.
  • Painful red eyes are seen with glaucoma, uveitis and corneal ulcer.
  • Medications, such as aspirin or warfarin.
  • Bleeding, such as subconjunctival haemorrhage, which is a medical emergency.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The physician takes a complete history of the symptoms which includes the duration and extent of redness and the intensity of the associated pain if any. He/she then conducts a thorough examination of the eyes to evaluate:

  • Vision.
  • Movements of external eye muscles.
  • Intraocular pressure.
  • Slit-lamp test.
  • Scratch, abrasion or oedema/swelling of the cornea.
  • Eyelid and tear sac examination.

Management for red eyes depends entirely on the cause and may include:

  • Management at home, such as:
    • Use of cool compresses or washcloths a couple of times a day on closed eyes.
    • Maintaining hand hygiene before touching the eyes and using clean, fresh bedding and towels daily.
    • Avoiding allergy-causing triggers or irritants.
    • Removing foreign body from the eye, if any.
  • Management with medications includes:
    • Ophthalmic antibiotic in cases of infection.
    • Antihistamine/vasoconstrictor agent for allergies.
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs, artificial tears and lubricant ointments for dry eyes.
    • Blood pressure lowering medicines in the case of glaucoma.
    • Surgery in severe cases.
  1. Medicines for Red Eyes
  2. Doctors for Red Eyes
Dr. Vishakha Kapoor

Dr. Vishakha Kapoor


Dr. Svati Bansal

Dr. Svati Bansal


Dr. Srilathaa Gunasekaran

Dr. Srilathaa Gunasekaran


Medicines for Red Eyes

Medicines listed below are available for Red Eyes. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
Schwabe Anchusa officinalis CHSchwabe Anchusa officinalis 12 CH96
Bjain Lilium tigrinum DilutionBjain Lilium tigrinum Dilution 1000 CH63
Schwabe Lilium tigrinum CHSchwabe Lilium tigrinum 1000 CH96
Schwabe Antimonium arsenicicum CHSchwabe Antimonium arsenicicum 1M CH96
Schwabe Antimonium oxydatum CHSchwabe Antimonium oxydatum 12 CH96
I ClearI Clear Eye Drops43
SBL Mercurius praecipitatus ruber DilutionSBL Mercurius praecipitatus ruber Dilution 1000 CH86
Recool PlusRecool Plus Eye Drop80
Red RidRed Rid 0.05%/0.12% Eye Drops26
ADEL 73 Mucan DropADEL 73 Mucan Drop200
ReecoolReecool Eye Drop0
MedikulMedikul Eye Drops56
Medikul CMedikul C Eye Drops56
MolikulMolikul 0.05%/0.12% Eye Drops11
OpticoolOpticool Eye Drops52
RelaxRelax Eye Drop36
SunkulSunkul 0.05%/0.12% Eye Drops22
RediffRediff 0.25 W/V/0.056 W/V Eye Drops0
IrrinilIrrinil Eye Drop41
NefacoolNefacool Eye Drop40

Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Red eye.
  2. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Jan 15;81(2):137-144. [Internet] American Academy of Family Physicians; Diagnosis and Management of Red Eye in Primary Care.
  3. Farokhfar A et al. Common causes of red eye presenting in northern Iran. Rom J Ophthalmol. 2016 Apr-Jun;60(2):71-78. PMID: 29450327
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Eye redness.
  5. Frings A, Geerling G, Schargus M. Red Eye: A Guide for Non-specialists. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017 Apr;114(17):302-312. PMID: 28530180
  6. Nidirect [Internet]. Government of Northern Ireland; Red eye.
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