Seeing Eye To Eye

Can’t Get the Red Out?
Written By: | April 21, 2008

This time of year, we see lots of people coming in with red eyes. The weather is changing and pollen counts are record high. It is important to realize that not all red eyes are from the same cause. An office visit can help to clarify the correct diagnosis and treatment.

For example, a red, burning eye with discharge could be infected, while a burning, red eye with a scratchy, foreign body feeling could represent dryness. If the prominent symptom is itching in both eyes, along with redness and a teary discharge, that is most often allergy. Unfortunately, sometimes over the counter allergy medications like Zyrtec, can exacerbate dry eye, compounding the list of problems. Contact lenses can both absorb pollens and act like sponges, worsening dry eye and allergy symptoms. An acute attack of angle closure glaucoma can also cause a red eye, and could represent an ocular emergency requiring urgent treatment.

Significant allergic conjunctivitis can often be accompanied by nasal symptoms and may require a team approach with the ophthalmologist working closely with an allergist. This can help to pinpoint the conditions that the patient is allergic to, allowing them to try and minimize exposure and/or undergo desensitization treatments. Appropriate use of oral and ophthalmic medications may alleviate both systemic and ocular symptoms.

If you have dry eye, allergies or chronic redness, the doctors at Pepose Vision Institute are here to help. Proper treatment begins with accurate diagnosis. Our doctors specialize in diseases of the ocular surface and cornea, and offer the latest treatments. If you have chronic red eyes, a thorough, complete eye examination is your next step!

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