Thursday, September 22, 2011

Causes of a Painful Red Eye

A painful red eye is a very common symptom and sometimes deserves immediate attention.  One of four conditions is usually responsible for a painful red eye.

1.         Acute Glaucoma (a congested tense eyeball caused by sudden blockage
            of the aqueous outflow)
2.         Acute Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the outer eye)
3.         Acute Iritis (inflammation of the inner eye)
4.         Acute Keratitis (which generally is caused by a corneal infiltrate or ulcer)

After an attack of angle-closure glaucoma, the patient is treated with a number of pressure lowering drugs followed by a laser treatment or surgical procedure.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva that causes swelling of the small conjunctival vessels, making the eye appear red; it may be caused by bacterial or viral infection, allergy, or exposure to environmental agents such as chlorinated swimming pool water, also called pink eye.

Diagnostic investigation may be required in the case of acute Iritis, because this condition maybe an incident in the course of a general body disorder, in particular tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis, arthritis or other diseases.

Keratitis or corneal inflammation is not commonly present as an isolated entity. It may result from a preexisting conjunctivitis or may be the initiating cause of a secondary Iritis. Among the causes of a painful eye, Herpes Simplex Keratitis warrants special mention. It is commonly diagnosed as a simple conjunctivitis because the eye is red, is sensitive to light and has a watery discharge. The person experiences a gritty sensation of the eye that actually decreases in severity as the condition becomes worse. If the eye is left untreated, many complications can develop, including corneal scaring, secondary Iritis and glaucoma. Early treatment in the form of antiviral drops may reduce the frequency of those late complications.

If you wish to learn more about or experience a painful red eye please call Doctor & Associates for an appointment at 203-227-4113.