Sauna Causing Red or Bloodshot Eyes? (Prevention Guide)

Do you get red eyes after getting out of the sauna? There are a few different reasons this can happen, and understanding what they are can help prevent it from happening again. Most people experience bloodshot eyes after using a sauna, so it’s not usually a cause for alarm.

Saunas can give you bloodshot eyes from the excessive heat and humidity. You sweat a lot inside a sauna and can become dehydrated quickly. So to prevent bloodshot eyes you need to keep yourself hydrated and use eye protection especially when using an infrared sauna.

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In the rest of the article, we are going to look into how saunas and steam rooms affect your eyes and what can you do to protect them during a sauna or steam room session.

Table of Contents

What Causes Bloodshot Red Eyes After Sauna Bath?

There are a few leading causes of bloodshot eyes after a sauna bath.

First, many people sweat while in the sauna. The hot air can lead to dehydration. A symptom of dehydration is bloodshot eyes, so you’ll need to make sure you drink plenty of water if this happens to you. Many people get red eyes after using a sauna, so you shouldn’t panic.

Second, your eyes might just be irritated. There’s a lot of steam in the air, which can bother your eyes and make them red. Plus, the sauna’s high heat can make sweat drip into your eyes, which is sure to sting.

Sometimes, the water used in a sauna bath is “hard,” which contains many minerals such as salt. Salt can dry out your skin, eyes, and hair, leading to irritation and making you feel itchy. 

Overall, your eyes are either bloodshot because you’re dehydrated or they’re irritated. You should always drink water when you get out of the sauna. It’s also good to shower a little while after you leave the sauna to remove any minerals from your body.

How to Protect Your Eyes in the Sauna

washing red eye
Wash your eyes thoroughly post-sauna and steam room sessions (Image source)

So, if you get bloodshot eyes in the sauna, you’ll want to know how to prevent that from happening next time. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Keep your eyes closed: Shutting your eyes in the sauna can prevent them from drying out or becoming irritated from the steam. It’s a simple solution that works for most people and helps them to relax more.
  2. Place a wet towel on your eyes: Keeping a moist towel over your eyes helps to keep them hydrated.
  3. Hydrate beforehand: Drink water before going into the sauna. You’ll be less likely to become dehydrated and get bloodshot eyes, even if you’re sweating a lot. You should also drink water shortly after you get out.
  4. Use some eye drops: If your eyes still become bloodshot, using eye drops after getting out can help to reduce irritation.
  5. Don’t stay in the sauna for too long: You should always time how long you’re in a sauna. If you stay in too long, your eyes can start to hurt.
  6. Don’t drink alcohol: Don’t drink if you’re planning on using the sauna. You might accidentally hurt your body if you’re dehydrated. Alcohol can also cause sudden changes in blood pressure, which you don’t want happening in high temperatures.

You’ll want to take care of your eyes in saunas, especially if you use them regularly. You should take a break for a few weeks if your eyes become bloodshot after each sauna session. Your body might be trying to tell you that it needs more water.

You should always pay attention to your body while in a sauna. While it does have plenty of benefits, you don’t want to overdo it.


Is Getting Bloodshot Eyes After a Sauna Bad?

It might not be bad to have bloodshot eyes after a sauna session. Drinking a lot of water should correct the problem if you’re mildly dehydrated. However, you’ll need medical help if you’re severely dehydrated, as it’s harder to fix this issue alone, and it can be dangerous.

You’ll also want to talk to a doctor if your eyes stay bloodshot for longer than a day. Most of the time, a sauna will only cause them to remain red for a short period. Bloodshot eyes that don’t clear up after a few days could indicate an infection or allergy.

So, while getting bloodshot eyes after using a sauna is normal, you’ll want to monitor how long they last. 

Why Do Your Eyes Hurt in the Sauna?

If your eyes start to hurt while in a sauna, you should leave and take a break. As mentioned above, the water’s minerals might irritate your eyes. However, the high temperatures could also dry your eyes, making them uncomfortable. This condition happens when the humidity levels in the sauna can cause your teats to evaporate. 

If you get sweat or steam in your eyes, you’ll want to rinse them using hydrating eye drops carefully. The salt in the steam can have a burning sensation, so you’ll want to clean your eyes as soon as possible.

Saunas can potentially also cause blood pressure drops when used for too long. When that happens, your vision can become blurry, and you might get a headache.

Generally, most experts say using a sauna for about 15 to 30 minutes is safe. Although, if you start feeling unwell earlier, it’s best to leave early.

Can a Steam Sauna Damage Your Eyes?

Using a steam sauna appropriately shouldn’t hurt your eyes. The steam won’t cause long-term harm to your eyes as long as you use the sauna responsibly.

While your eyes might feel very dry after coming out of a sauna, they should return to normal shortly. Eye drops and blinking can help the process, as will drinking water right after your session ends.


To summarize, saunas often cause bloodshot eyes. Usually, it’s due to the heat in the bath drying out your eyes. However, they might also be irritated by sweat or minerals in the steam. There are plenty of ways to prevent red eyes, including using a wet towel and drinking more water before a sauna.

If your eyes hurt every time you come out of a sauna, you’ll need to take a break and drink a lot of water to rehydrate.

(Featured image by Dasha Yukhymyuk on Unsplash)

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