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Red eye

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 10, 2023.


Red eye is a common problem that can happen in one or both eyes. The redness comes from the blood vessels on the surface of the eye. These blood vessels expand or dilate due to irritation or disease.


When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical care if:

Make an appointment with a health care provider

Sometimes, having red eye for a short time is not a reason to worry. If you think the redness is caused by an over-the-counter eye drop, try a different brand or take a break from using them.

Call your health care provider for an appointment if you have red eye that doesn't clear up after several days, especially if you have thick pus or mucous for a long time.

Contact your eye surgeon if:

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