Ten common causes of red eyes.

1. This is a subconjunctival haemorhage. Most patients have no symptoms ,only the white of the eye is red. In my experience patients are first aware of it in the mirror or when someone asks what is wrong with their eye. Most of the time these will resolve on their own in 2-4 weeks. Rarely a more serious cause can occur so you should see an optometrist asap.

2. This is Conjunctivitis. Normally caused by bacterial infection but can have other causes. The eyes aren't normally sore but feel irritable and have a discharge that can make the eyelids sticky. Please see an optometrist for further investigation.

3. This is Keratitis. It is an infection/inflammation of the clear front of the eye (the cornea). Symptoms can include pain, discharge and reduced. Some keratitis can be sight threatening so an urgent appointment with an optometrist is recommended. 

4. This is Iritis. It is an inflammation of the iris (the coloured part of the eye). Symptoms can include pain , reduced vision , light sensitivity , headache. This is also potentially sight threatening and should be seen urgently same day by an optometrist.

5 . This is episcleritis . It is a mild inflammation of the episclera layer of the eye. It normally resolves itself after a few weeks. Vision is generally unaffected. Patients could use lubricants if the eye is irritated. This again should be checked by an optometrist asap.

 

6. This is scleritis. It is a serious inflammatory condition that affects the tough white part of the eye called the sclera. It is often associated with underlying systemic conditions like rhumatoid arthritis. Symptoms include pain, redness, tearing, light sensitivity , tenderness. It is an ocular emergency and you should book to see an optometrist asap.

7. This is closed angle glaucoma , where the angle between iris and cornea has closed causing sudden , dramatic rise in pressure. Symptoms include pain, nausea, reduced vision and "haloes around lights". This is an ocular emergency and an optometrist should be seen the same day asap.

8. This is a "foreign body" on the edge of the cornea. The patient will feel as if there is something in the eye and the redness will be in the same area as the foreign body. This should be seen asap by an optometrist as it may need referred for the "fb" to be removed.

9. This is allergic conjunctivitis. This is an allergic reaction to pollen or other allergens. The eye has an overreaction to these allergans and the conjunctiva can become "puffy" slightly red and inflamed. It rarely affects vision and there is no pain normally. You should see an optometrist for diagnosis and possible eye drops to reduce inflammation.

10. This is a rare but serious eye infection caused by Acanthamoeba . It is found in water , soil and other habitats. It can cause severe loss of vision and potential blindness.Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity , reduced vision, foreign body sensation and tearing. It is more common in contact lens patients who do nnot disinfect their lenses properly , or do not wash their hans prior to insertion or removal. It can also occur in patients who swim in their contact lenses. This should be checked urgently by an optometrist.

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