Bloodshot or Bloody Eyes

Eyes | Ophthalmology | Bloodshot or Bloody Eyes (Symptom)


Bloody eye is a form of eye redness. The eye layer called conjunctiva presents nerves and many small blood vessels. These blood vessels are usually barely visible but become larger and more visible if the eye is inflamed. These blood vessels are somewhat fragile, and their walls may break easily, resulting in a subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva). A subconjunctival hemorrhage appears as a bright red or dark red patch on the sclera.


There are many causes of eye redness; some could be symptoms of a serious problem, others are of no consequence. Coughing or straining is one of the most common causes of eye redness. When that strain leads to a bright splotch of blood on the sclera, this is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. When the eye becomes infected, it can lead to redness and other symptoms like discharge, itching and, occasionally, vision problems.

There are a variety of infections that could be responsible for bloody eyes, including blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelash follicles), conjunctivitis (the infection of the membrane that coats the eye), corneal ulcers, uveitis (a complication of bacterial or viral infection and an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye). Colds can also lead to blood in the eye, especially coughing. Acute Glaucoma appears when the pressure in the eye leads to bleeding.