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1. Redness

Redness may be due to hyperemia of the conjunctival, ciliary, or episcleral vessels (eFigure 7–1); erythema of the eyelids; or subconjunctival hemorrhage (eFigure 7–2). The major differential diagnoses are conjunctivitis, corneal disorders, acute glaucoma, and acute uveitis (see Table 7–1).

eFigure 7–1.

Hyperemia of ciliary and episcleral vessels. (Used, with permission, from Ed Lee.)

eFigure 7–2.

Spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage while receiving warfarin. (From the University of California, Davis, Cornea and External Diseases. Reproduced, with permission, from Riordan-Eva P, Cunningham ET Jr. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 18th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011.)

Table 7–1.The inflamed eye: Differential diagnosis of common causes.
Cagini  C  et al. Reasons for visits to an emergency center and hemostatic alterations in patients with recurrent spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2015 Oct 15:0. [Epub ahead of print]
[PubMed: 26480948]
Carlisle  RT  et al. Differential diagnosis of the swollen red eyelid. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Jul 15;92(2):106–12.
[PubMed: 26176369]
Dunlop  AL  et al. Approach to red eye for primary care practitioners. Prim Care. 2015 Sep;42(3):267–84.
[PubMed: 26319338]
Narayana  S  et al. Diagnosis of the 'red eye': a systematic review. Am J Med. 2015 Nov;128(11):1220–4.e1
[PubMed: 26169885]
Welch  JF  et al. Red alert: diagnosis and management of the acute red eye. J R Nav Med Serv. 2014;100(1):42–6.
[PubMed: 24881426]  

2. Ocular Discomfort

Ocular pain may be caused by trauma, infection, inflammation, or rapid or marked increase in intraocular pressure.

Foreign body sensation may be due to corneal or conjunctival foreign bodies, disturbance of the corneal epithelium, or rubbing of eyelashes against the cornea (trichiasis).

Photophobia is usually due to corneal inflammation (keratitis) or anterior uveitis (iritis). Other causes are albinism, aniridia, cone dystrophy, or fever ...

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