Ophthalmologist Questions Bloodshot Eyes

Why are my eyes blood red when I wake up?

I am 23 years old and am into a profession which requires me to stare at the computer screen for long hours. I have recently been noticing waking up everyday to bloodshot eyes with intense fatigue in the eyes. What could be the cause for this?

8 Answers

Thanks for your question. Your symptoms sound like you have dry eye disease. You need a full eye exam with dry eye testing and treatment tailored to your eyes. Please take breaks with your computer use, every 20 minutes and use an anti-glare screen. If your medical doctor okays it, consider oral omega-3 supplementation to help your dry eyes. Please also seek the help of your eye doctor before it becomes worse.
When you stare at the computer for a long time during the day without blinking you can develop dry eye. One of the signs of dry eye is redness. I recommend using preservative free artificial tears during your work hours (every 2 hours) to see if it helps. Please visit an eye professional for an exam. There are several good medications that require prescriptions that can help. One is Xiidra; the other is Restasis. Xiidra works faster and can make a difference in 1 to 2 weeks. Restasis will take a couple months to be fully effective. Good luck!
Despite that every person with these symptoms feels they are alone in experiencing this malady, it is common and frequent among those who stare at a computer screen for long periods of time.

Briefly, you have developed dry eyes from not blinking sufficiently when on the computer. When you concentrate on the screen close to your face, you blink less frequently. Because tears
spread over the cornea and sclera, and these tears evaporate and cool the Cornea thereby reducing the oxygen need. When the corneal cells cry out for more oxygen, blood vessels in the adjacent tissue (conjunctiva) respond by enlarging and bring more oxygen from the tiny blood capillaries around the eye to the cornea. Though the eye is more comfortable, it becomes red and makes you uncomfortable.

Treatment may be by: PREVENTION.
Most likely your eyes are very dry. Symptoms of Dry Eyes:
Stinging, burning, scratchiness sensation in your eyes
Overflow of tearing
Feeling of that something is in the eye
Blurred vision, usually worsening at the end of the day
Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
Eye fatigue after short periods of reading
Difficulty in wearing contact lenses

Especially when you are staring at your computer screen for long hours, you are probably very concentrated in what you are doing and thus amplifying the problem by forgetting to blink. Remind yourself to blink while you are on your computer or while using your cell phone to text or surf the internet. You can also go to nearby drugstore to purchase preservative free artificial tears. There are several brands on the market that is available without prescription. Many people try different brands to find one that they like the best. Preservative free does not have preservatives so please try to use up each vial within one day. If you do not open the vial it can keep for a long time.

In some instances where the dry eyes are more severe, your ophthalmologist may perform a procedure where the channels to your tear duct are closed temporarily or permanently to create a reservoir of tears. This procedure takes less than 1 minute and is minimal discomfort.
The most likely problem causing your eyes to be red upon awakening is a chronic infection in your eyelid oil glands. You need to see your eye MD soon for a definitive diagnosis and recommended treatment.
Redness of the eyes is a 'non-specific' sign indicating that something is bothering or irritating the eyes. And if they are red primarily in the morning, it means that something is bothering them either during the night or late in the day and they are not having a chance to recover.

Some things that can irritate the eyes at night include allergens such as dust/dust mites/animal dander/perfumes or dyes from detergents used on bedding/etc, the eyes cracking open while you are asleep and they are drying out, a ceiling fan or AC blowing on the eyes.

Could it be that the eyes are irritated during the evening? Staying up late watching TV or using the computer? Drinking alcohol late? These would be some other possibilities to consider.

Try to eliminate possible allergic irritants. Put some lubricating gel or ointment in the eyes at bedtime and also consider wearing a sleep mask to keep the eyes from drying out.

If these options don't do the trick, then you should definitely see an eye doctor to rule out other causes.
Computer usage causes dry eyes and eye strain which takes its toil over time. The eyes become bloodshot as a reaction to the daily stress. Treatment by using eye lubricants and reducing computer and mobiles usage.
Most likely dryness. When we stare at mcomputer our blink rate decreases and the eyes dry out and feel strained. You could use artificial tears during computer use. You may need to use artificial tear ointment at night. Genteel gel is a good one. If no improvemjent see an eye doctor for other possible treatments.