Taking a warm shower can be a relaxing way to start or end your day. However, some people experience bloodshot eyes after showering. If you have noticed red, irritated eyes after bathing, you may be wondering what causes this and how to treat it.
What Causes Bloodshot Eyes After Showering?
There are a few potential reasons why your eyes appear bloodshot post-shower:
Hot Water Exposure
Exposing your eyes to hot water can cause red, irritated eyes. The heat causes the blood vessels on the surface of your eye to expand and become inflamed. Blinking and rubbing your eyes under the stream of water may also contribute to irritation.
Shampoo, Soap, or Face Wash
Shampoos, soaps, and facial cleansers often contain chemicals that can irritate your eyes if they come into direct contact. Rinsing hair and face under the shower stream can sometimes splash product into your eyes leading to redness, stinging, and discomfort.
The chlorine used to disinfect tap water can be an irritant to some people’s eyes. As you shower, tiny droplets of chlorinated water may enter your eyes causing redness and bloodshot eyes after showering. This effect is usually temporary.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Some individuals suffer from a condition called dry eye syndrome. Hot showers can worsen dryness, leading to eye redness and irritation. Dry eyes lack sufficient lubricating tears required to keep the eyes comfortable.
Allergies to substances in bath products, laundry detergents, or even mold and mildew in the shower can trigger red, itchy, watery eyes in some cases. Allergic reactions cause dilation of blood vessels in the eyes.
Symptoms of Bloodshot Eyes After Showering
How do you know if the shower is causing your bloodshot eyes? Symptoms commonly associated with this condition include:
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Pink, swollen, or inflamed eyelids
- Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- Itchiness and irritation in or around the eyes
- Gritty feeling in the eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling like something is in your eye
- Headache from eye strain
If you experience any of these symptoms immediately or shortly after showering, bathing is likely the culprit behind your bloodshot eyes.
How to Treat Bloodshot Eyes Post-Shower
If your showers are leaving you with irritated, red eyes, there are some easy remedies you can try:
Rinse With Cool Water
Rinsing your eyes with cool clean water can help soothe inflammation and flush out any irritants like shampoo or chlorine. Splash eyes with cool water or use an eyecup to rinse.
Over-the-counter eye drops containing lubricants or redness relievers can provide temporary relief and remove redness. Look for drops containing gentle ingredients like polyethylene glycol or tetrahydrozoline.
Applying something cool to your closed eyelids can minimize swelling. Use a clean cloth soaked in cold water, cucumber slices, or chilled eye masks. Apply for 5-10 minutes as needed.
Limit Shower Time
Try to limit shower length to 5-10 minutes of direct water exposure. The longer your eyes are exposed to heat, chlorine, and other irritants, the more likely you’ll have irritation.
Lowering your water temperature can help prevent bloodshot eyes. Warm showers relax you, but very hot water can inflame your eyes. Go for a happy medium.
Wear Swim Goggles
Protect your eyes from shampoo, soap, and direct water contact by wearing swim goggles in the shower. Just be sure to disinfect them between uses.
Consider Artificial Tears
If dry eye syndrome worsens in the shower, use preservative-free artificial tears before and after to lubricate and hydrate your eyes. Consult an eye doctor for recommendations.
Oral antihistamines and nasal sprays can alleviate allergy symptoms like watery, red eyes. Combining medication with other remedies may provide greater relief.
Using a humidifier in the bathroom introduces moisture into the air, preventing dryness that can worsen shower-related eye issues. Clean it regularly to avoid mold growth.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, bloodshot eyes after showering resolve on their own or with simple home treatment. But if symptoms persist longer than 2-3 days or become severe, it’s a good idea to see an ophthalmologist. Seek medical care immediately if you experience:
- Sudden loss of vision
- Eye pain that is severe or worsens
- Pus or discharge draining from the eye
- Extreme light sensitivity
- Inability to fully open the eyelids
- Headache and eye redness with nausea/vomiting
- Injury to the eye area
These symptoms could potentially indicate a more serious eye condition requiring specialized medical treatment. Don’t hesitate to call your eye doctor if you have any concerns about shower-related red eyes.
How to Prevent Bloodshot Eyes After Showering
To avoid irritated, bloodshot eyes after bathing, try these tips:
- Shower with your eyes closed or wear swim goggles
- Angle the showerhead away from your face
- Rinse hair backward to avoid shampoo in the eyes
- Apply petroleum jelly around the eyes before showering
- Consider saline nasal spray to moisturize nasal passages
- Invest in a shower head filter to remove chlorine
- Limit shower time to 5 minutes or less
- Wash face/hair first, then body to avoid product drips later
- Always use warm, not hot water
- Open the window or run the exhaust fan to clear the steam
- Change out old shower curtains/liners that may harbor mold
- Clean bathroom surfaces frequently to avoid mold buildup
FAQs About Bloodshot Eyes After Showering
Why are my eyes bloodshot even when I don’t get water or soap directly in them?
Even just the steam from a hot shower can irritate the eyes and cause redness for some people. Chlorine evaporating into the air or using very hot water can also lead to bloodshot eyes without direct contact.
Are bloodshot eyes after showering harmful to my vision?
Generally, mild redness and irritation from showering will not cause any permanent damage or loss of vision. However, repeatedly irritating the eyes can increase your risk for conditions like dry eye. Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t resolve or get worse over time.
Why do my eyes look worse/more bloodshot as the day goes on after I shower?
Irritation and inflammation caused by a hot shower can linger and even worsen throughout the day. Using drops, a cold compress, and avoiding re-irritating eyes can help symptoms improve rather than progress.
Is it OK to use eye makeup/contacts after getting bloodshot eyes from showering?
It’s best to avoid putting anything additional into your eyes until redness and irritation have cleared up. Makeup, contacts, and even dust can exacerbate inflammation. Give your eyes time to recover before applying cosmetics.
How can I calm my bloodshot eyes overnight after a shower?
Applying a cool, damp tea bag to each eye for 15 minutes can help constrict blood vessels. Use preservative-free lubricating eye drops before bed. Keeping a humidifier in the bedroom prevents overnight dryness. Avoid rubbing your eyes.
While showering is normally relaxing, dealing with red, bloodshot eyes after bathing can certainly dampen the experience. Hot water, shampoo, and chlorine exposure are among the common culprits for that irritated pinged-out look. Fortunately, there are many effective remedies ranging from cool compresses to protective swim goggles that can get your eyes white again. With some adjustments to your shower routine and smart treatment, you can say goodbye to bloodshot eyes and hello to happy showering once more!
Mustafa Al Mahmud is a passionate medical writer and health enthusiast. He is excited to share his knowledge and make reliable health information more accessible through Quick Medico. Mustafa aims to write about common diseases, medications, wellness topics, and the latest health research in easy-to-understand language. He believes clear and accurate health communication empowers readers to take charge of their well-being. In his free time, Mustafa enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with his family.