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Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an optometrist for a comprehensive eye test to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending too much time in front of the computer

Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:


You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
  • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an optometrist, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

Depending on the diagnosis, your optometrist will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your optometrist recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.


In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancer (in rare cases)

Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye test if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

Depending on the cause and severity, your optometrist may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

Eye Injury

It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an optometrist.

Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an optometrist to assess the health of your eye.


In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your optometrist.

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Aged 60+
  • African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye test with Dr. Vivienne Yung at Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists in Bendigo today.

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your optometrist may perform the following tests:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
  • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
  • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
  • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

Doing Your Bit for the Environment. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

What are the options for Spectacles and Lenses?

The mere fact that many millions of people globally wear spectacles, particularly in developed nations where strong marketing pressure encourages consumers to regularly turnover spectacles for fashion reasons, has caused an ethical dilemma; what do we do with them when we no longer want them? Will they create endless mountains of landfill, or can they be recycled ethically and sustainably?

Donating to Charity

It may be simple to suggest that unwanted spectacles be donated to various charities that can sort and distribute the spectacles appropriately to regions where they are most needed. Indeed, the Lions Club via partnerships with other organisations have been doing just that for many decades, distributing glasses to nations in Africa, South America and the sub-continent. Whilst this is a well-intentioned initiative, one published study has shown that only 7% of donated glasses were useable, and at double the cost of providing new glasses in these regions. This is due to several factors that include the cost of sorting, cleaning and delivering the spectacles. Spectacle prescriptions have to match the end user, and because of the many combinations of prescription available, this becomes a “needle-in-the haystack” proposition. Nonetheless, the Lions Club claims to recycle about 37% of all its donations, and many optical outlets, including Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists, accept donations on behalf of the Lions Club

Your Choice of Spectacles

Perhaps the ultimate solution to reducing waste should be centred around prevention rather than cure, by choosing your spectacles wisely in the beginning. Despite the higher initial cost, quality frames will endure wear & tear for many years, meaning that lenses may be upgraded into them, saving money and waste in the long run. Also choosing frames with a more enduring and classic styling that take much longer to appear dated, negating the need to upgrade spectacles regularly on fashion grounds.

Good Care So They Last Longer

Taking good care of your spectacles will also reduce wear & tear. Strategies like keeping spectacles in their case when not in use, cleaning lenses with the recommended cloths & cleaners, and not wearing glasses on a chain where they can be exposed to physical damage, are all helpful strategies in prolonging the useful life of your spectacles.

Consider Repairing Versus Replacement

How about repairing spectacles when possible? Often frames require minor repairs to render them useful again, extending their life and reducing the burden on landfills.


What about materials recycling? The options for recycling in this way are fairly limited, however choosing frames made out of aluminium or stainless steel for instance, can easily be recycled at your local municipal refuse centre.

There are many strategies available for reusing and recycling spectacles. Educating consumers on what they can do, with particular emphasis on encouraging behavioural change in entrenched consumerist thinking, will lead to the greatest results. Whilst challenging, this is both good for the health of our planet, and a rewarding outcome for the eye care industry.

6 Ways To Maintain Eye Health If You’re Over 50

Aging and certain lifestyle choices can affect your vision, especially if you’re in your 50’s and up. While it’s normal for your eyes and vision to change, there are certain actions you can take to protect your sight.

6 Tips for 50+ Eye Health

  1. Eat Well

    A well-balanced diet helps maintain a healthy body including healthy eyes, and reduces your odds of developing some very serious eye diseases. Nutrients and nutritious foods, which help prevent vision loss include:

    • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, kale, egg yolks, dairy products
    • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers
    • Vitamin E: Whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils
    • Fatty Acids: Coldwater fish, such as mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon; corn oil, sunflower oil
    • Lutein: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, corn
    • Zinc: Poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains
  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking can significantly increase the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in diabetics. So if you’re a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better.

  1. Exercise

Exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is great for your whole body, including your eyes, by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina! It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous exercise—in fact, a brisk walk will suffice.

  1. Protect Your Eyes


Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV-blocking sunglasses can slow down the development of cataracts, prevent sun damage to your retina, and lower the risk of skin cancer near your eyes.

Protective eyewear

Another way to protect your eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If you play sports or work with materials such as wood, glass or metal, protective eyewear can shield your eyes from splinters and shards, as well as fast-moving objects like balls and hockey pucks.

  1. Give Your Eyes a Rest

If you spend a lot of time reading, driving or looking at digital devices, you may develop eye strain and eye fatigue. By implementing the 20-20-20 rule, especially during prolonged computer or smartphone use, you can give your eyes some much-needed rest. All you need to do is this: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

  1. Have Regular Eye Tests

And finally, a comprehensive eye test is crucial, as it can detect eye conditions that don’t display any symptoms until vision loss has already occurred.

These conditions include:

When detected early, treatment can often prevent permanent vision loss or even blindness. Less serious and more common, presbyopia or age-related farsightedness, develops with age, and simply updating your prescription for glasses or contact lenses at your routine eye checkup can keep you enjoying the arm’s-length activities you love.

Age-related vision changes can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. However, some of these can be mitigated by implementing the tips above.

Schedule an eye exam with Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists in Bendigo, Victoria to check your eye health today!



How does aging affect your eyes?

Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which leads to presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). This makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on near objects and tasks like reading. Other common age-related eye problems include:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dry Eyes
  • Floaters
  • Changes to Peripheral Vision

Can I do anything about my chances of vision loss?

It is estimated that half of all visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment. So make sure you get regular eye exams to ensure that all is in check.


Print Your Own Contact Lenses

We are now moving into the era of smart contact lenses. Not only can they be 3D printed they are going digital!

General benefits of contact lenses

Contact lenses provide an alternative to glasses to allow people to see clearly without having to wear frames and lenses. They are particularly useful in sport and provide better vision in some conditions like keratoconus.

The future is here

Recently however, they have been developed to monitor various conditions in people who are particularly non-compliant or have fluctuating levels of key compounds and their doctor cannot get a true representation of their health. The contact lenses have been augmented with a wireless chip and a tiny antenna that is “thinner than a human hair” to transmit the data to an external device. This allows the doctor to monitor conditions like:

  1. sugar levels in diabetics
  2. lactic acid in heart failure, liver disease and lung disease
  3. lacryglobin in certain cancers
  4. glaucoma by measuring the pressure in the eye using a technology called Triggerfish (developed by Sensimed)

Printed Contact Lenses

For more information contact Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists.

Why Eye Exams Are More Important Than Ever

Why Are Eye Exams near you in Heathcote, Victoria Important?

Since the onset of COVID-19, many children have been learning remotely through distance learning programs. While parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically, optometrists are concerned that undiagnosed vision problems may impact the child’s school performance.

Undetected vision problems may hinder a child’s ability to learn. That’s why optometrists strongly recommend that children undergo a thorough Eye Exam before the new school year begins.

While it’s tempting to rely on vision screenings provided by schools, these superficial visual acuity tests can identify only a limited number of vision problems. Only a comprehensive Eye Exam conducted by an optometrist can accurately diagnose and address a wide range of problems related to vision and eye health.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend looking at digital screens was already a concern in the pre-pandemic era—but the covid pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did prior to the pandemic.

For one thing, spending prolonged periods of time on digital screens forces the eyes to work harder, making children and adults more susceptible to digital eye strain, one of the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Some digital eye strain symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Glare and reflections from the screen
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems

In addition to digital eye strain, several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “near work” — writing, reading and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine experienced slower myopia progression. Some researchers theorize that exposure to sunlight and looking at distant objects while playing outdoors might help prevent myopia progression.

Our optometry practice near you in Heathcote, Victoria, offers a wide range of eye care services, including pediatric eye tests, contact lenses fitting and ocular diseases management

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Up to 80% of a child’s learning is visual, so even the slightest vision problem can have a negative impact on their academic achievement. Taking a child in for an Eye Exam once a year will allow your optometrist to detect and correct refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, and check their visual skills, such as convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing and more.

Comprehensive eye tests are the best way to detect mild and serious eye health conditions. Eye exams are especially important for children with a family history of eye health problems.

While regular eye tests are essential for every member of the family, they’re especially for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual Eye Exam. Schedule an appointment with Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists in Bendigo today!

Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists, your Heathcote eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Schedule a Back To School Eye Test With Our Optometrist in Heathcote, Victoria


At what age should a child have an Eye Exam

According to the American and Canadian Optometric Associations, it’s recommended for a child to have their first Eye Exam between 6-12 months of age.
Before a child starts school, they should undergo an Eye Exam, and every one to two years after that, based on their Eye Doctor’s recommendation.

Does my child need an Eye Exam if they passed the school vision screening?

Yes! School vision screenings are superficial eye evaluations designed to diagnose a limited number of vision problems like myopia. They do not check for visual skills and other problems that may hinder your child’s academic success.
Your Eye Doctor will evaluate your child’s vision and eye health, along with visual abilities, including depth perception and eye tracking, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are “school-ready.”


What is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is an extremely rare form of cancer of the immature cells of the retina, therefore almost exclusively targeting young children. Although life threatening, most children survive the cancer, however because most cases of the disease are discovered at an advanced stage, the treatment is devastating, necessitating the removal of the affected eye or eyes. In the latter case, this obviously means lifelong blindness. In less severe cases, chemotherapy may be used in an attempt to preserve eye sight.

What Causes Retinoblastoma?

It is believed to be caused by gene mutations and may occur in one or both eyes.

How Common is Retinoblastoma?

Worldwide incidence is thought to affect one person in every 18,000 – 30,000.

How Serious is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is extremely serious and constitutes a medical emergency. It is life threatening as it can spread fast down the optic nerve to the brain.

How Can You Check If You Have Retinoblastoma?

An eye care practitioner, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist, can detect the disease by examining the internal structures of the eye through the pupil, however there are some obvious signs that may be visible to a doctor, and even a parent.

What Are Some Symptoms Your Child May Have Retinoblastoma?

The appearance of a white pupil (leukocoria), or a recently turned eye, are both signs that may indicate the presence of Retinoblastoma. Because the affected children are quite young, often symptoms are not easily reported, however the main one is reduced vision, and in some cases a red irritated eye where intra-ocular pressure has been raised by the tumour.

Early detection for all eye diseases is recommended

True or False? Five Common Myths About Your Eyes

There are loads of myths relating to eyes and eyesight, these five are the most commonly encountered in the consulting room.

Eating carrots is good for your eyes

This is for the most part true. Carrots contain Carotenoid Pigments that are beneficial in reducing the risk of certain cancers and eye disease such as Macular Degeneration. One particular carotenoid, Beta-Carotene, is converted to Vitamin A. While this is a requirement for good eye health, it’s important to know that it is a fat soluble vitamin and can be toxic in high doses. Fortunately eating large quantities of carrots is unlikely to give you a Vitamin A overdose because Beta-Carotene is not converted rapidly enough to toxic levels. In any event, consuming large amounts is also not likely to be any more beneficial than a balanced healthy diet. It’s good to know that Carotenoids can also be found in many other intensely coloured fruits and vegetables, which are therefore also good for your eyes.

Wearing glasses will weaken or damage your eyes

There is some debate amongst academics and clinicians about how strong to make a pair of glasses for a young child going through their developmental period, however, for the general population this myth is incorrect. Glasses or contact lenses correct refractive errors (this means that glasses will bend the light entering the eye so that it falls in sharp focus on the sensitive retina). Just like the film in an old camera, a poorly focused image will result in a blurry photo. Similarly, a sharply focused image on the retina will be perceived as clear by your brain (providing there is no eye disease present). Choosing not to wear glasses will simply just render your world blurry and will have no other effect. So, wearing your glasses, not wearing your glasses, or wearing someone else’s glasses (however this option might give you a headache), will not ruin your eye health or sight.

Staring at the sun can damage your eye sight

This is absolutely true, and we have personally seen in our clinics permanent damage sustained to the retina from Solar Eclipse viewing. The sun’s radiation intensity varies throughout the day, so the amount of time required to damage the retina will also vary, but guessing how long that might be is fraught with danger. There is also a common belief that viewing the sun with sunglasses or filters is safe, however this is also a myth, as filters cause the pupils to dilate, allowing even more of the sun’s harmful radiation to enter the eye. Most sunglasses are not designed to filter out harmful radiant wavelengths responsible for this type of damage, thus providing nothing more than a false sense of security. When purchasing sunglasses always look for the Australian Standards sticker stating the level of UV protection. There are several levels of protection offered and this will be indicated on the sticker or tag. This is your assurance that the sunglasses are compliant with the laws and will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, in the conditions that you wish to wear them.

Sitting too close to the TV and computer screen damages your eyes

There is little truth to this, however staring at screens can cause symptoms of eye strain and discomfort that diminish with ceasing of the activity. The causes of these symptoms include excessive prolonged focusing, inappropriate screen brightness and contrast, and eye dryness due to staring with a reduced blink frequency. There is also no evidence to support the theory that radiation emitted from screens, including light from the blue spectrum, is at a high enough intensity to cause any form of eye damage.

Crossing your eyes can cause them to be permanently cross-eyed

The causes of permanently “turned” eyes are many and include uncorrected refractive errors (particularly “long-sightedness”), disease (eg. Thyroid condition), head trauma causing damage to the cranial nerves, and brain compression from an aneurysm or tumour. In a normal healthy person, the extra-ocular muscles function normally and allow for a variety of eye gaze positions, including extreme convergence (going “cross-eyed”), that are completely reversible. These muscles do not spasm into a permanent position, and are commanded back into position by the cranial nerves that communicate to them. If you have any worries about your eye health then consult with your optometrist.

Why Are Blue Eyes More Sensitive To Light?

Did you know that blue eyes don’t contain any blue pigment? They appear blue due to how the light reacts with the structures of the iris.

In fact, the top layer of a blue iris doesn’t contain any pigment at all. This lack of pigment is the reason that blue-eyed people may be more sensitive to bright light and have a greater need to wear sunglasses than their brown-eyed counterparts.

Why Do Your Eyes Need Sun Protection?

Eyes of all colours need shielding from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV light can contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term eye conditions such as corneal sunburn and macular degeneration.

That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality sunwear with 100% UV blocking lenses, and to throw on a sun hat for an added layer of protection.

UV protection is important for individuals of all ages—especially children—who are more susceptible than adults to the sun’s harmful rays, and tend to spend more time outdoors. It is estimated that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18.

Why are Blue Eyes More Sensitive to Light?

Lighter coloured eyes like blue, hazel and green have less of a pigment called ‘melanin’ than brown eyes do.

Melanin helps protect the retina from UV damage and blue light, putting those with blue eyes at a higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.

If you have blue eyes, you may have experienced this first-hand. Bright light may be uncomfortable or you may want to reach for your shades as soon as you leave the house on a sunny day.

That’s why optometrists urge blue-eyed patients to be particularly vigilant about UV protection, so as to mitigate their chances of developing eye disease and other complications.

How We Can Help

Whether you have blue eyes or not, sunglasses are an important part of keeping your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

At Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists, we’ll be happy to advise on the perfect high-quality and protective pair of sunglasses to suit your needs and personal style.

To learn more about the eye care services we offer or to schedule an eye test, contact Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists in Bendigo today!


#1: Should I wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny outside?

Yes! You should wear your sunglasses whenever outdoors during the day, even on an overcast, winter day. UV light can pass through clouds and reflect off surfaces like car windows and pavement.

#2: What type of sunglasses are the most suitable for blue eyes?

The most protective sunglasses are wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from every angle. You can also opt for photochromic lenses, which offer total UV protection but only become tinted when exposed to outdoor sunlight, and turn clear when you come indoors again. Your optometrist can help you choose the best lens and frame options for your needs and lifestyle.