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Differential Diagnosis of Common Causes of the Inflamed Eye1
Acute ConjunctivitisAcute Iritis2Acute Glaucoma3Corneal Trauma or Infection
IncidenceExtremely commonCommonUncommonCommon
DischargeModerate to copiousNoneNoneWatery or purulent
VisionNo effect on visionOften blurredMarkedly blurredUsually blurred
PainMildModerateSevereModerate to severe
Conjunctival infectionDiffuse; more toward fornicesMainly circumcornealMainly circumcornealMainly circumcorneal
CorneaClearUsually clearSteamyChange in clarity related to cause
Pupil sizeNormalSmallModerately dilated and fixedNormal or small
Pupillary light responseNormalPoorNoneNormal
Intraocular pressureNormalUsually normal but may be elevatedMarkedly elevatedNormal
SmearCausative organismsNo organismsNo organismsOrganisms found only in corneal infection

1Other less common causes of red eyes are noted in the text.

2Acute anterior uveitis.

3Angle-closure glaucoma.

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