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Bloodshot eyes

The white portion of the eye (sclera) can appear red when the vessels on the surface become enlarged. This may result from mechanical irritation, environmental irritants (such as extremely dry air, excess sun exposure), allergic reactions, infection, and other medical conditions.

A bright red, uniformly dense bloody area on the sclera results from a small amount of bleeding (hemorrhage) into the conjunctiva. It is a fairly common occurrence and is usually caused by straining or coughing. It generally clears up on its own after a few days.


Review Date: 1/4/2011
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine (8/31/2010).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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