Red Veins on the Whites of the Eyes

Do any of the following comments hit home with you:

“Hi, I am an 18 year old female who has recently noticed unsightly red veins on my eyes.”

“I have always had large blood vessels in both eyes. It is very embarrassing and I often don't like to look at people in the eye so I try to look away and not directly at them.”
“My eyes are ALWAYS bloodshot and red rimmed. From the time I wake up in the morning until I go to bed.”

No matter what the cause, having permanently enlarged red veins on the whites of your eyes can really take a toll on a person’s self esteem. Perhaps you’ve started avoiding making eye contact with other people, or else you may be passing up social situations that put you in close face-to-face contact with other people. If you are someone who is bothered by this particular cosmetic eye issue, please know that you are not alone.

The Causes of Enlarged Veins on Eyes

It is important to note that this article is not dealing with temporarily bloodshot eyes that can be relieved by the use of eye drops or by simply getting some rest. Rather, it is about the issue of permanent red veins that have appeared on the white part of the eyes. According to various eye doctors, these veins develop for several reasons, including:

  1. Prolonged and untreated dry eye syndrome.
  2. Overuse of eye drops that are vasoconstrictors (i.e., Visine, Clear Eyes, All Clear, etc.). A vasoconstrictor is a substance that reduces the redness in the eyes by narrowing the blood vessels. However, overusing products containing this substance can result in “rebound redness”. This means that when you stop using the product your veins will come back even larger and redder than before.
  3. Overexposure to sunlight without wearing proper eye protection.
  4. Staring at a computer screen for hours a day without stopping to take breaks or without blinking sufficiently in order to keep the eyes moistened.

Treatment Options

The first thing you will want to do is visit an eye doctor in order to rule out allergies or dry eyes as the cause. If you have allergies, the eye doctor will most likely prescribe an antihistamine-containing eye drop and perhaps even a steroid that will control the inflammation. I was prescribed Alrex to help stop the constant burning and stinging feeling in my eyes that I could not control by any other means.

If, on the other hand, you have dry eyes, you may be prescribed a product such as Restasis. I had a combination of allergies and dry eyes, so eventually my eye doctor switched me to Restasis and also inserted punctal plugs in my tear ducts. A punctal plug is a small plastic device that is inserted into the tear duct (puncta) of an eye to block the duct. Doing so, prevents natural and artificial tears from draining away from the eyes.

I used Restasis for about one year and just discontinued treatment about 3 months ago and am glad to say the dry eye condition is still under control. Dr. Michael J. Kutryb, M.D. also recommends the following for red dry eyes:

  1. Taking supplements containing flaxseed oil
  2. Using lubricating eyedrops such as Systane or Genteal

He also recommends saving the use of vasoconstrictors like Visine for special occasions only, such as a job interview or a date, and using these products no more than 2 or 3 times a week so as to avoid the rebound redness effect discussed above. I found many other other great suggestions for dealing with and treating my dry eyes at DryEyeZone.

Extreme Treatment for Bloodshot Eyes

Making sure your eyes are as moist and healthy as possible is the first line of defense. But what if you’ve followed all the advice above and the veins on your eyes are still unbearably unsightly to you? Then you might consider a surgical procedure that can actually remove the veins from the whites of the eyes. Note, however, that this is not a cheap option and can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000 per eye.

As far as I know, there are only two doctors in the United States currently providing this eye whitening surgery:

  1. Dr. Shawn R. Klein of New Jersey has created a procedure called IsoWhite™. This is a same-day procedure that creates a whiter, brighter appearance on the white part of your eyes. Dr. Klein modifies and removes the thin membrane (conjunctiva) which in some people can contain overly prominent veins or discoloration with yellow, gray or brown spots. The surgery is stitchless, painless, and takes about 15-20 minutes per eye.
  2. Dr. Boxer Wachler in Los Angeles, California created a procedure known as I-Brite which also involves removing the thin membrane that holds most of the unsightly red veins and yellow or brown material. After removal, a crystal clear membrane (without red blood vessels, yellow or brown spots) grows back in its place.

As for me, I have stopped just short of surgery to deal with the enlarged red veins on my eyes. But believe me, there are still days when I seriously consider it. There are a lot of people who may think this is a ridiculous thing to be so focused on. But I personally know how distressing it can be to look in the mirror and not have your eyes looking their whitest and healthiest. If you suffer from enlarged red veins on the whites of your eyes, I wish you the best in whatever remedy you choose to follow.

UPDATE 9/21/13:

Since I first wrote this article, I am finally starting to come across a handful of individuals who have had an eye whitening surgical procedure and are starting to share their experience and photos online. See, for instance, this patient's video on Youtube. You can also browse Youtube for several other testimonial videos from other patients of Dr. Wachler (mentioned above). I am definitely giving the surgery serious thought now that I feel more encouraged at seeing the positive results others are having so far. If you have gone through with either of the surgical procedures, please share your experience with all of us - whether good or bad - in the comment section below. Thank you!

Comments 36 comments

Eric 5 years ago

Hey i huv the same problem as you, did you red veins got clear out yet?

Gypsy Jane profile image

Gypsy Jane 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hey Eric. Thanks for reading my hub. No, I still have the veins on my eyes. I believe that surgery is the only way to get rid of these permanently enlarged veins. But I'm not sure yet if I want to take such an extreme measure though. Sometimes I just tell myself that I have to learn to accept my eyes as they are. Other days I'm so ready to have the surgery!

Eric  5 years ago

Hey Jane, thanks for the reply. Have you ever try the visine eye drops redness maximum reliever? And yea, surgery are way too expensive for this. But man, this is so frustrating! how do you deal with this problem? did you visit any eye doctors?

Gypsy Jane profile image

Gypsy Jane 5 years ago from Florida Author

Yeah, I was using those Visine "get the red out" drops for a while before I learned that they can actually make the veins grow bigger and make them permanent. Unfortunately, a lot of people are making that same mistake. I now only use those drops for special occassions (a party, a photograph, etc.). I did go to my opthamologist in Florida (the one that put me on Restasis) and he said the veins were permanent and he personally did not know of laser surgeries being used to treat them. I have also talked to regular optometrists about it on 2 occassions, and they also said they are permanent. So for now, only looks like the doctor in New Jersey and the one in California offer this vein-removal surgery. I have tried to stop looking at my eyes in the mirror so much so I don't get so frustrated about it. It seems to me that my boyfriend and my friends don't notice it like I do, or if they do, they don't say anything about it so as to not make me feel bad. But I don't understand how all their eyes are so perfectly white and mine aren't. Don't know what we did wrong to have this happen to our eyes:( Oh well, a test of our inner strength I guess. Good luck to you and let me know if you find anything that helps:)

Eric 5 years ago

Hey, thanks for sharing! i really appreciate your response. I just visit the opthamologist about couple days ago, she 've said the same thing, the red veins won't go away and like you said, my friends don't really notice or they just don't care lol... my opthamologist said i have Blepharitis and dry eyes. I just start taking the supplement you recommend on this article and use systane eye drops. And btw, how are your dry eyes now? I 've actaully suffer from this ever since i was about 8 or 9 years old, Its been a while... I am 19 now and just start treating the problem. And plus, i really don't like eye drops that much... But yea how are your eyes now? is your dry eyes problem completely gone after using those drops? what's the effect on Visine? i never used it and i know they are not good if you use them too much. Does the drops make it shrink the blood vessel to your eyes? and does it burn when you apply them?

Gypsy Jane profile image

Gypsy Jane 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Eric...My dry eye problem is under control now, thanks goodness! I am no longer on restasis, but I did use it and Alrex for over a year to help heal my eyes. I continue taking Omega 3 supplements with my daily multivitamin because it seems to help and is a good supplement for overall health. I just have to be careful with my eyes (like remembering to blink when I'm staring at the computer, making sure not to lie under a fan all night, etc.), and my dry eye problem is no longer a big deal (before my eyes burned so much I wanted to pull them out of their sockets!). Yes, Visine for red eyes will shrink the blood vessels for a couple hours only (they won't disappear but will look much lighter and smaller). It can burn a little bit when you first insert the drops, especially if your eyes are super raw and dry. If you don't overuse Visine it should not cause anymore damage or enlarge the veins. That's why I only use it for special occassions when I know I will be face to face with someone for a while, or when I have to take a photo:)

Eric 5 years ago

Hey, thanks for the useful information! (:

Eric 5 years ago

HEy! sorry, i want to ask you one more thing.. since u have dry eyes, do u also have this thing call blepharitis?

Marc 5 years ago


I have the same problem. I guess I have the worst eye – big red veins. And they’re not just few, my whole sclera is something like the combination of red/yellow/brown. I really felt bad when I look to the mirror and when someone’s asking me if I am drunk, or if I cried, or if don’t have enough sleep. For in fact, I got 9 hours of sleep and I don’t drink alocohol. And sad to say even, if I use visine, the redness in my right eye do not totally disappear unlike in my left eye. And as we all know it only lasts for I guess 2 hours. I have consulted to many ophthalmologist here in the Philippines but they only say one thing, that there is no surgery for my case. I feel so sorry for this because I felt sad when somebody is rubbing their eyes when they talk to me indicating that they can’t look at my red eyes in long minutes.

don't do it 4 years ago

I've had red eyes for years after having lasik in 2001 and again in 2005 when my eyes got bad again. I did not use enough eyedrops with my dry eye syndrome and as a result I had more prominent red veins. I recently had a big red vein lasered... unsucessfully, it gave me a subconjunctal hemmorage and likely caused more veins. The only cure is tear eye drops, rest, and to not overuse your eyes on the computer, tv, air conditioned rooms, etc. Get out side and enjoy some oxygen in your eyes.

maria1985 4 years ago

Hi, I am new to the problem of red veins- I was a longterm contact lens wearer with no problems until I got an allergy in my eyes this summer. My eyes became very red and eventually this redness faded, however that was 6 months ago and now I am left with a few red veins around my eyes. I can't say that they are terrible, the only problem is that one of them which appeared is in a really unfortunate place: it is from the corner of my eye right to the cornea. Why oh why one had to become inflamed right there, I don't know. I am so self conscious because it's completely noticable because of its positioning. I feel that it distorts the way I look and I see it ALL the time when catching my reflection. If it was on the other side at least I wouldn't feel so exposed all the time. I have been to a number of opthalmologists over the last few months and they all tell me the good news that my eyes are healthy apart from the allergy, however the vessel is permanent and no cosmetic surgery can be done on the vein because it is one that has always been there, and that it is only now visible cause it became permanently inflamed. I have tried numerous things to try and lessen the redness but the baseline is bad and some days it is terrible. I was hoping that someone might be able to provide information on any cosmetic procedure that wouldn't be as drastic as removing the entire membrane from the eye!! That can't be a good idea unless a person is terribly affected by veins, and I can't say I am. I am so mad at my eye for choosing that vein to get inflamed!! ;p Apologies for the enormous message, as you can see I am a little obsessed with my new problem.



Ryan 4 years ago

Only two doctors... The procedure is obviously dangerous and complications-prone. Or that they are incredibly difficult...

Laura 3 years ago


Like all of you, I also have large veins in my eyes. I am 35 now and have had them since I was 22. I am so self concious about it and have suffered immensely over the last many years. If anyone has any other tips or tricks to share, I would love to hear them. I have tried EVERYTHING -- liver cleanses, hypnotherapy, flax seeds, bilberry, name it. I realise that I "just have to live with it" but it is hard. I feel unattractive to men because of these veins (I'm single and "dating") and am very stressed. I would love any signs of hope that don't involve surgery, which I have investigated but just don't trust -- in some cases people have come away with "worse" eyes.

Thank you!


Sophiesuitcase 3 years ago

Hello all,

I have the same problem. I believe it's from wearing contact lenses for 20 some years but as I'm very sportive I find wearing glasses cumbersome. I was also using Visine which I agree is worse in the long run. I think I've become obsessive looking and wondering why everyone else has such beautiful white eyes. Of all the problems to have! I'm now trying natural methods such as eye bright and colloidal silver. I will post if I see any improvement.

Laura I do understand you, I'm 38 and also single and feel subconscious about my looks. I always date in low light. LOL

ragazza 3 years ago


I've read all your comments. I have these terrible veins as well. It's been nearly a year since I noticed them but when I look through my older photos I see that they've been there for at least 4 years or maybe more (I am 22 now). I don't know why I didn't notice them before because I always look into mirror and check myself. My family and some of my friends that I asked how my veins look say that there is nothing wrong with my eyes and I am exaggerating them. Well, they have nearly white eyes and it does not relieve me to hear it from them. Also I've been recently prescribed systane because of my dry eyes. I don't know why the other doctors I went did not mention it to me before. This last one also said that my veins are permanent and there are people with much worse eyes, so I should find an another think to distress myself.As a result I am distressed and unhappy. I sometimes cry for hours but still the others keep saying that there is nothing wrong with my eyes, they are okay and everyone will look directly into my pupil not into my whites. I don't know what to do. Still, I want to find a way out of this problem like you and I do understand you all :(

I hope someday there will be a less dangerous cure than these risky surgeries. I wish you all good luck with it.

Jess 3 years ago

Any progress with your eyes, Gyspy Jane? I am a 36 year old female....I've had the same thing since I was 20. Mine is very bad. Trying to get through life dealing with the self conciousness of it all! It's so hard. I feel like it makes me so unattractive. Any tips or tricks you have would be really appreciated.

Thank you!

Cypephell 3 years ago

When i used to get on top of existence nevertheless these days I have developed an amount of resistance.

pradyumna 3 years ago

i am 18 and i have a red spot on my white part of eye by birth. it becomes more prominent in summer. also mild itching starts.taking eye drops prescribed by docter lessens the itching but the spot won't go doesn't give any other problem. can you help me identify my problem

Sugar 3 years ago

Hi Gypsy Jane and others.

I am in my early 20's and I am suffering from severe red veins and burning sensation in my eyes. I have never worn contact lenses but I do usually wear glasses for computers and when on the road.

Last year I used Optrex eye drops (to get redness out) since I was suffering from a few tiny red veins in my eyes. I only used the eye drops 3-4 times a day for 9 days (in a 2 week period) and then suddenly the small eyes veins expanded and now I have huge enlarged red veins in my eyes.

I understand everyone problem as I myself feel very embarrassed to give eye contact and I feel so disgusted to look in the mirror. My eyes are so inflamed, its affecting my confidence and I have almost stopped going out and socializing. I cry almost everyday and I blame myself for it - I just wish my eyes could go back to how they were before (even though they were slightly red).

I have visited several eye specialists. They first thought it was conjunctivitis and gave me low dose of steroids but it made my eyes worse and I developed a few lines in my eyes. I was then recommended to use Celluvisc or artificial tears but they only help for 15 minutes and the burning and redness is still there. They do not know why my eyes veins are so inflamed and eve though I explained about the optrex eye drops they refuse to believe its permanent.

The fact is that I have had these red veins for over a year know and they seem to be getting worse. I looking for successful stories about red eye veins and if anyone reading has ...please share...

Nikhil 3 years ago

I am 24 and suffering from dry eyes ( red eyes ) from childhood i had try lot of drops but problem is not solve till now, so please suggest any solution for it.

Aries 2 years ago

I am so glad that I found this blog. I am 28 and over the past 10 years, I've been very anti-social because of my red eyes. Even at work, I cannot concentrate on looking at my teammates eye-to-eye. People always notice my red eyes asking me if I haven't had a sleep or if I'm so tired and someone even making a joke to each other naming each other as drug addicts so that I can hear them. Some friends who are concerned are asking that I should take a checkup cause I might have a hepatitis because my eyes are also brown+red. I am happy that I am not alone. And even happier to know that there's this Ibrite. I know I cannot afford that because Im just here in the Philippines and I don't even earn that big. But just knowing the fact that there are people who still stay positive, I am so blessed to have these red eyes at least I see the world and recognize that each person has a flaw.

Mine is I think the worst eyes, it's combination of brown/ugly and fully bloodshot schlera.

To the writer - I thank you for sharing this blog.

Andrea 2 years ago

Hello, i'm thinking about same surgery. Did you proceed with it? What are your thoughts about it

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Pharmd94 2 years ago

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Jing 2 years ago

Hi all im suffering from red veins in my eyes that wont go away so depressing it affects my work i tried everything nothing happen im from phillippines im so tired in my life i have this problem for 2 months now

VIVIPRETTY 2 years ago

I have the same problem over the years now. One thing is for sure. Natural healing is still the best. Believe in the power of water, 3 liters a day. And eat food reach in vitamin b. Think of a long term solution. So far im not having bad results yet at the same time its making me more positive to have a healthy living...

Holly 22 months ago

I had a similar surgery for pinguecula, and here is what happened:

Uchenna 20 months ago

Hello guys,

I used to have perfectly white eyes. I knew I did because growing up, I used to wonder why others had stained eyes and mine were so white.

Well, I find out way to early with my own experience of red veins sprouting out. It happened after a case of wearing a specific brand of contacts. I had been wearing contacts for 3 months now with absolutely no issues. I had read about complaints on Acuvue Oasys but when my opthametrist gave me samples to try for free, I didn't refuse. Four days later, I had a eye reaction. Many doctors said it was an eye allergy but whether it was or not, I know it was linked to my contact wearing experience.

Since then, my eye has never been the same again. I had issues with misty bloomy wiry effects when looking at light. I will feel sensation as though a snail crossed the white of my eye. A stone-like sensation will weigh against the bottom of my eyelid. And each time, I looked into the mirror, I saw spider webs of red veins. And the stinging was ridiculous.

The doctors prescribed eye drops to help. They did help. It will look whiter, but I knew it wasn't the long-term solution. I had a feeling I had developed some kind of dry-eye.

That was when I stumbled on a blog that talked about the effects of taking fish oil to help with dry eye. I started buying fish oil capsules and my eye health has improved dramatically. The redness remains but the stinging has stopped. Now I am looking for ways to get rid of the redness. People online say it is permanent, while a number of doctors said it will go away over time. I haven't given up. In the morning, it looks a lot better, but as the day goes by, it gets red again.

I am just grateful I have put an end to the stinging. Now onto figuring out how the red vessels can go away, in as much natural ways as possible.

Don't give up. Take 2 capsules of fish oil to target dry eye. And what I also do that helps is that I force a yawn out every once in a while, then I use the back of my palm to rub gently against my eyelid. It really rejuvenates my eye.

It makes me sad that just 4 months ago, I had never used contacts and my eyes were in good condition. Now, I can't use contacts anymore, yet I have this new problem.

P.S. the contact brand that started this problem for me was Acuvue Oasys. Stay clear of it. (If you need to buy from this company, try their one-a-day.)

Cynthia Patouhas 19 months ago

Has anyone tried msm and vitamin K? Maybe they should make computer screens less bright!

claire 16 months ago


There's a non steroid drop out now that can get rid of eye redness, pinguecla and ptergium without the rebound effect.

Isla 15 months ago

@Claire, OMG, thank you for sharing that!

phiona 14 months ago

Hi i am 20 yrs have spent 15yrs with bloody red eyes have gone for medication but haven't gotten any help.have lost all the self confidence coz people fear to look at m please help me out thanks

wkloke 14 months ago

me too suffered from red eyes for the past 15 years ..

I know there is no cure using eye drops

Just wear light tinted glasses :)

Monique 10 months ago

HELLO EVERYONE. .i took time to read every person testament.and all i can tell you is that we all here have the same or almost similar problem .so instead of just writing the same stories on and on of what did not help you ovious you can not help at to get to the point only write when you have some suggestions.i thank you all ....i v been doing research lately for at east 1 year non stop and what i can strongly advice to anyone who wants the cure .it is going to take courage and first u got to understand tha the problem we have it from internal you can not erase it externaly.but you can do both.second it will have to be in the Mostra natural way possible better organicaly .here is what i m about to try after relaxing, reseaching ....i didnt want to start taking anything without really going around this for long.first do the regular herb cleansing make sure you include pinsenlit, milk thistle. Or any herb liver the same time take the bee pollen and bee propolis importannnnttttt to choose brand for new zeeland. Drink lots of water with lemon when wake up. Take fax seed oil and vit.D3 as i told ya this is going to be a détermination cause it's a lot.and the last thing is MSM eye drop or propolis eye drop(let me know if u can t find)....i can keep going but it s better for u to start with this. If it doesnt work let me know

Lovegiraffe 10 months ago

I have had dry red eyes my entire life, and started using Visine at 11-12 years old. After I had LASIK at 27 years old, my eyes became extremely dry. I was using an insane amount of moisturizing eye drops, and I hated it. It really interfered with my love of snow sports. I went to a vitamin store to find eye drops one day, and the shop keeper asked me if I have ever tried taking hyalauronic acid orally. I have been almost completely cured of my dry eyes, which also helps with the redness!!! When I became pregnant with my first child a couple years ago I stopped taking it, and it was fine for a long time, but about a year after giving birth I had to start taking it again. So, if you haven't already, PLEASE TRY HYLAURONIC ACID ORALLY!!! It has seriously changed my life for the better, and many different brands make it. You can even buy it in bulk, and mix it yourself into a drinking solution. Again TRY HYALAURONIC ACID!!!!!!!!

Krishna 8 months ago

The only thing that worked for me to remove my veins on the eyes was acupuncture... After several treatment all of the big veins are gone. No side effects and cheap.

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