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Red Eye

Red Eye

Red Eye

A red eye, if not painful, is usually caused by a minor eye condition such as conjunctivitis. If there is pain, the condition may be more serious and will need to be investigated by a medical professional.

Possible Causes Of A Painless Red Eye

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis means inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin covering (like a very thin skin) that covers the white part of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids. This causes the blood vessels on the eye to swell, making the eye look bloodshot and feel gritty.

Conjunctivitis is usually caused by an infection, allergy, or your eye coming into contact with shampoo or chlorine. Most cases clear on their own within a couple of weeks, without needing treatment. For more information, visit our page on Conjunctivitis.

Burst Blood Vessel In The Eye

Sometimes a blood vessel can burst on the eye surface, causing a bright red blotch. This can be caused by coughing or straining and is called subconjunctival haemorrhage. Like conjunctivitis, a burst blood vessel should clear up on its own within a few weeks.

Possible Causes Of A Painful Red Eye

Iritis

Iritis (also known as anterior uveitis) is an inflammation of the iris (coloured part of the eye).

Usually no cause is found, although it can sometimes be due to an underlying autoimmune or inflammatory disease, an infection or exposure to toxins. Iritis is not usually serious, but can be quite painful and the affected eye may feel oversensitive to light. You may also have a headache and blurred vision.

It is a treatable condition and will need medical attention. Visit our page on Uveitis for more information.

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a serious condition where the angle between the iris and sclera is narroweddue to a sudden increase in the pressure within one eye. The eye quickly becomes painful, red, watery, and you may feel unwell and see halos around lights. Vision is often affected and the cornea (outer surface of the eye) may look cloudy. If your GP thinks you may have acute glaucoma, they will refer you to an eye specialist immediately. For more information on this condition, visit our Glaucoma page.

An Ulcer On the Cornea

A corneal ulcer is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It will feel like there’s a particle in your eye and you may also be oversensitive to light. Your GP may refer you to an Ophthalmologist for treatment.

Scratch To The Cornea Or Foreign Body In The Eye

If there is a particle or foreign body in your eye, your GP or A&E doctor will try to remove it using anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eye and prevent any pain. You may be given antibiotic eye drops or ointment to use for a few days to reduce the risk of infection while it heals.

Book An Appointment

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Norwich Union), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

For the next available red eye appointment you can contact us by emailing londoneyeunit@hje.org.uk or by calling our team on 020 7078 3848

Make an Appointment

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