Bloodshot Eyes

What Causes Red Eyes?

Red eyes can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'needs attention'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose red eyes, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "red eyes" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Dry Eye
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Iritis
  • Conjunctivitis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
painful inguinal nodes
vision disturbances
shortness of breath when at rest
frequent red eyelids
frequent painful axillary nodes
dry eyes
slight eyelid twitch
constant fatigue
severe vision disturbances
swollen inguinal nodes
occasional rashes
major joint pain/swelling/stiffness
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of red eyes:
Cause Probability Status
Sarcoidosis 99% Confirm
Iritis 14% Unlikely
Conjunctivitis 0% Ruled out
Dry Eye 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate eye problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Are the whites of one or both of your eyes bloodshot (with red/pink veins showing)? Only answer if you have had bloodshot eye(s) for more than 2 days, and it is not from rubbing them.
Possible responses:
→ No / for under 2 days / from rubbing / don't know
→ Significant episodes in the past
→ A little - they appear slightly red colored
→ Significantly - numerous individual red veins
→ Seriously - there is a large, very red area
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate past episodes of bloodshot eyes, bloodshot eyes or very bloodshot eyes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Dry Eye

Dry eye may cause your eyes to always look red.

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