[Reddened eyes, what should be done?]
Journal Paper/Review - Sep 17, 1997
Not every patient who consults his physician because of reddening, pain, burning or itching sensation in an eye suffers from a bacterial or viral infection of the anterior eye segments. The sicca-syndrome mainly occurring in the elderly leads often to chronic reddening and a disturbing sensation of a foreign body in the eye. Allergic manifestations are often a cause for swelling and reddening of the conjunctiva. If next to reddening a rapidly progressing deterioration of vision develops, eventually accompanied by nausea and vomiting acute glaucoma has to be considered. In uveitis the patient mainly complains about sensations of dazzling, reduced visual acuity and pain, reddening of the conjunctiva may be variable. If in addition to acute hyperemia also a yellow-whitish infiltrate of the cornea is observed a bacterial ulcer of the cornea may be suspected. In this case an ophthalmologist has to be consulted without delay. Viral inflammations are often a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. If reduced sensibility of the cornea is observed, herpetic infection should be considered.