‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 1 May 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Mr Ijaz Sheikh, consultant ophthalmologist:
Hi doctor, my daughter of 26 years old has of the last few days been getting a painful red eye which is causing headache, along with a lightly blurred vision. She doesn't want to see anyone yet as she thinks it will go away in a few days, but being a mother I am worried. What could it be? Hope you can help. Anne, Surrey.
Common causes of a painful red eye: If your red eye is painful, blurry with headache, the cause is likely to be one of the following, and an early consultation is recommended:
Iritis - iritis means inflammation of coloured part of the eye. It is characterized by red eyes, light sensitivity, headaches, floaters and blurriness. Usually no cause is found, although it can sometimes be due to an infection or exposure to toxins or systemic disorders. It is a treatable condition and will need prompt medical attention to avoid sight threatening complications.
Ocular herpes - also called eye herpes is a recurrent viral infection caused by the same virus that causes cold sores. It causes eye redness, pain, swelling, watering and photosensitivity. Sometimes permanent scarring of the cornea can occur if left untreated.
Contact lenses - practice good hygiene when wearing contact lenses. Red eyes while wearing contacts could be a sign of a serious eye infection.
Swimming - chlorine and other sanitizers in pools can cause red eyes, use swim goggles. Also, never swim with contact lenses.
Acute glaucoma - it is a serious condition that means there is a sudden increase in pressure inside your eyeball. The eye will be painful, blurred and watering.