Red and painful eyes

Eyes can become red and painful for a number of reasons - including some that require immediate treatment - so always take a red, painful eye seriously, especially if the vision is affected.

Chemical burns, especially from caustics, can destroy an eye very quickly.  Immediate copious flushing of the eye with saline or tap water should be done continuously while waiting for emergency care.

Some Red Eye Causes

  • Trauma - sharp or blunt, foreign bodies
  • Radiation - welding flash, sun exposure
  • Chemical burns
  • Acute glaucoma - raised fluid pressure in the eye.  Most people with glaucoma have the slow, symptomless kind, but if the eye pressure rises suddenly, the eye will be red and sore.
  • Complications from contact lens wear
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Allergy
  • "Dry" eyes - poor tear quality

Sorting out the cause, and therefore the treatment, for a sore, red eye requires careful examination. 

Never delay getting a red eye seen to. 

Further information on Red Eyes

British Medical Journal summary of red eye

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