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RED EYES From Simple to Sinister

Red Eyes are a very common problem, and in most […]

By Published On: 28 May 20131.6 min read

Red Eyes are a very common problem, and in most cases have an obvious cause.  Sometimes the causes can be unexpected and even dangerous. Another way to describe red eyes is that you have conjunctivitis.

Most lay people would associate conjunctivitis with an eye infection, although often there are other causes. Before recommendations are made why don’t we start we a list of causes, which by the way is not exhaustive!

Here we go:


• Bacterial conjunctivitis
• Viral keratoconjunctivitis
• Blepharitis
• Chalazion
• Stye (hordeolum)
• Bacterial corneal ulcer
• Herpes simplex keratitis
• Fungal keratitis
• Chlamydial conjunctivitis
• Post-operative endophthalmitis
• Pre-septal cellulitis
• Orbital cellulitis
• Dacryocystitis

• Allergic conjunctivitis
• Vernal keratoconjunctivitis
• Giant papillary conjunctivitis

• Dry eye syndrome
• Pterygium
• Episcleritis
• Iritis
• Uveitis
• Scleritis
• Contact lens acute red eye
• Corneal graft rejection

• Corneal foreign body
• Corneal abrasion
• Penetrating eye injury
• Chemical burn
• Solution toxicity
• Recurrent corneal erosions
• Ectropion

• Angle closure glaucoma
• Pupil-block glaucoma
• Pigment dispersion syndrome

• Carotid cavernous fistula
• Subconjunctival haemorrhage
• Neovascular glaucoma

Now that we have made that complicated, let’s try and uncomplicate it!

The most common causes of red eyes in an adult are viral infection, allergy or dry eye syndrome.  Red eyes are often treated as if they are bacterial infection. The most commonly overused medication being Chlorsig (Chloromycetin) eye drops. In most cases of red eyes this drop is useless and occasionally it causes a slight toxic reaction to the eyes, which perpetuates the problem.

At The Eye Practice our optometrist Dr Jim Kokkinakis, who is therapeutically qualified often sees patients with chronic red eyes that have been mistreated with Chlorsig eye drops.  Their symptoms typically are that they have had red eyes for months and just cannot seem to get rid of them!

If you think you fit the bill call us now on (02) 9290 1899 so we can have a look and try and fix this annoying problem.


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