If you've ever had a sleepless night, spent time in a smoky room, experienced seasonal allergies or just had a good crying jag, you've probably had to deal with bloodshot eyes. There are a few serious eye conditions, including conjunctivitis and blepharitis, that can cause your eyes to become red, so if you have painful, itchy or persistent red eyes, see your doctor to rule out medical causes. In many cases, though, you can get rid of the red and get clear eyes at home.
Remove and clean contact lenses if you have them, and switch to glasses until the redness goes away. Wearing contacts can irritate your eyes, making it harder for them to clear up.
Soak a clean, soft washcloth in ice-cold water and apply the cloth to your affected eye for about 5 minutes, recommends dermatologist Doris Day in "O, The Oprah Magazine." The cold will shrink your blood vessels to relieve redness and inflammation.
Use an over-the-counter eye drop designed for allergies--it will soothe your eyes and relieve redness. Follow the directions on the package of the brand you choose, and apply the drops as needed.
Avoid touching your irritated eyes, which can make the redness worse, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
If your eyes are puffy and bloodshot, Day recommends dabbing a 1-percent hydrocortisone cream carefully on the swollen areas to reduce inflammation. Be careful not to get the cream in your eyes.
If your eye's redness is caused by an injury, if it's accompanied by a headache or visual auras or if it persists for more than two days, seek medical attention immediately. Your red eyes could be the sign of a serious problem and may need medical intervention to prevent damage.