Red and irritated eyes after the sauna bath

You come out of the sauna and your eyes are red and watering. Do you know it? This phenomenon afflicts many friends of healthy sweating from time to time. Most unpleasant.
Causes of red eyes after visiting the sauna
© saunazeit

Understanding, treatment and prevention of red and irritated eyes after a sauna session

  • Causes of redness: Red eyes after a sauna session can be caused by a variety of factors, including heat, eye strain, fatigue or health problems such as conjunctivitis.
  • Treatment and prevention: Measures to combat red eyes include adequate sleep, screen breaks and eye hygiene, although a visit to the doctor is advised if symptoms persist.
  • Self-help with caution: Self-treatment of red eyes, e.g. with home remedies or eye drops, should be done after medical advice and with caution to avoid negative consequences.

Irritated eyes after sauna visit

The red eyes are initially a cosmetic problem. In addition, there is often a painful burning sensation and when the tears start running, the good mood is completely over. But what helps against it? Is it possible to prevent? And most importantly, why is that? We got to the bottom of all these questions for you and have answers for you. In the article, you will also learn when the red eyes are a case for the doctor.

Why are the eyes red?

The causes of red eyes are manifold. Mostly they are harmless, but sometimes a serious conjunctivitis is behind them. But if you’ve just been to the sauna, it stands to reason that the heat is to blame. However, it will not have been her alone. True, there are sensitive natures whose eyes immediately redden in warm air. But this is exceptionally rare. You, as a sauna fan, will probably not belong to this group. Otherwise, you would never have taken a liking to this hobby.

Possible causes could be…

It is more likely that many causes come together. Just think about your everyday life. You probably spend the whole day in front of the screen. For the eyes, it’s torture. They are overloaded. If the hot air is then added, it is done: The eyes are red, itchy, and watery. The same applies if you are overtired and have sat down in the comforting warmth. This condition also affects the eyes, as does contact lens wear for too long or uncorrected refractive error.

But it may also be that behind the unpleasant phenomenon hides a serious disease. This can be, for example, conjunctivitis or inflammation of the iris. Red eyes can also be a symptom of undetected high blood pressure or diabetes.

When do I need to see a doctor

If you can clearly identify the cause and the eyes are red only once, you do not need to contact a medical professional immediately. However, if the symptom occurs more frequently, you should talk to your primary care physician. He will get to the bottom of the cause in a conversation with you. Usually the search is not easy, because after all, many triggers come into question. For further clarification, he will refer you to specialists – and they will initiate further treatment. But do not panic: You do not have to give up the sauna.

What helps against red eyes?

What specifically helps against the unpleasant phenomenon depends largely on the cause. If you sat too long in front of the computer or were overtired, it is clear what to do. Sleep in and give yourself some screen-free time. In all other cases, however, experts strongly advise against self-help. On the Internet, you will find many recipes that supposedly help against red eyes.

Do not treat eye irritation with chamomile tea

For example, some advice placing chamomile tea bags on closed eyelids. But this is highly counterproductive. The warm water would irritate the skin and only dry out the eyes further. In the worst case, even an allergic reaction can be the result. You should also keep your hands off the eye drops that friends still have at home. True, they only mean well for you. Nevertheless, you should have it clarified what the cause is before using it. And most importantly, get your own vial for hygiene reasons. This is because conjunctivitis is highly contagious.

How can I prevent?

Do not panic, you do not have to give up the sauna. Just avoid the actual cause of the redness. The easiest way to do this is to constantly look at the screen. Get in the habit of focusing on a different target for one minute every hour. This may be, for example, the window. Maybe your colleagues will look a little funny at the beginning. However, you will find that this helps you and will probably soon find imitators.

You should also make sure that you and your eyes get fresh air every day. Why don’t you get in the habit of taking a walk during your lunch break? Let your eyes wander and give them a rest. As long as there is no disease or defective vision behind the annoying redness, you need not fear redness in the sauna.

FAQ section: Detailed answers to your questions

Why do my eyes become red after taking a sauna?

Redness of the eyes after a sauna session can be caused by various factors. The heat and steam in the sauna can dilate the blood vessels in the eyes, causing redness. In addition, external factors such as pre-existing eyestrain, wearing contact lenses while in the sauna, or an undiagnosed eye condition may contribute. It is also possible that the eyes are irritated by chlorine or other chemicals used in saunas. A closer look at scientific studies shows that the combination of heat and certain pre-existing conditions or stresses can make the eyes especially vulnerable to redness.

When should I see a doctor?

The decision to see a doctor should be made if symptoms occur repeatedly or persist. If you notice that your eyes redden regularly after using the sauna, especially if this is accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, burning or blurred vision, you should see a specialist. An ophthalmologist can determine the exact cause of the redness and recommend appropriate treatment or preventive measures. In some cases, persistent eye redness may indicate more serious health problems that require immediate medical attention.

Can I continue to go to the sauna with sensitive eyes?

Yes, sauna visits can continue even if you have sensitive eyes, as long as appropriate preventive and protective measures are taken. These could include using special eye drops before and after sauna use or following certain eye care routines. The duration and frequency of sauna visits should also be adjusted to avoid eyestrain. For example, some experts advise limiting sauna sessions to a maximum of 8-15 minutes and taking adequate breaks between sauna sessions to protect and preserve the eyes.

Other tips for sauna-goers with sensitive eyes include

  • Refrain from using the sauna:Refrain from using the sauna if you have eye inflammation.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes:Rubbing can increase irritation and should be avoided.
  • Use a cooling eye mask: After a sauna session, a cooling eye mask can help reduce puffiness and redness.
  • Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is important to protect and moisturize the eyes from the inside out.
  • Avoid direct steam contact: Try to avoid direct steam contact with the eyes by taking a lower position in the sauna or closing your eyes.


Red eyes after a sauna session can be caused by a variety of factors and require a differentiated approach and treatment. This article draws on scientific evidence and expert opinion to provide you with sound information and advice. Remember that a physician should always be consulted if there are any health concerns.

Further information sources:
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The content provided on is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional advice, examination, and treatment by a physician. The information should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication.


Melanie Sommer