Irritation is the number one contributor to red eyes. Red eyes are the dilation of the blood vessels to leak out anything irritating the tissue. Some examples are allergies, viral infections, bacterial infections, toxic fumes, perfumes, chemicals, chlorine in water. There are a couple of other things we think of when we think about chronically red eyes. Dry eyes are a major cause of chronic red eyes. Tears become thinner and there’s not enough lubrication so the body tries to assist. Unfortunately it leads to dilated blood vessels. Visine constricts the blood vessels and thus contributes to dryness.
Another common condition with red eyes is related to rosacea, an inflammatory condition on the cheeks, forehead and chin. The same glands that get irritated on our skin are at the base of the eyelashes. They can cause chronic irritation and inflammation in the eyes. They can give people red eyes or reddened eyelid appearance.
Certain other eye drops can cause irritation or over time will make a person’s eyes red. Any red eye, acute or chronic, should be evaluated by your eye doctor.