ZocdocAnswersWhy is my eye pink and red?

Question

Why is my eye pink and red?

I wear contacts and my left eye has had shades of red nd pink. Also its been burning when I step outside or even in lighted rooms. Then once in a less lite room it will tear up as if I'm crying. I took my contacts out and put eye wash several times and the problem didn't go away.

Answer

There are many conditions that can cause a pink or red eye, so I recommend that you see your primary care doctor. A corneal abrasion (which is basically damage to the cornea) can cause a burning sensation and may be the result of a foreign body in the eye that needs to be removed. Conjunctivitis is very common, especially in contact lens wearers, and can be the result of an allergic reaction or a bacterial or viral infection. Bacterial infections can be serious and often present with lots of pus and eye discharge. Inflammation of the eyelid, called blepharitis, can be painful and cause eye redness, as can eye dryness. Dry eyes can be treated with artificial tears but need to be diagnosed since they can be the result of autoimmune disease. There are also conditions that can severe enough to cause vision loss. These include herpes infection of the eye, infection or irritation of the cornea, called keratitis, other inflammatory processes including iritis and uveitis, and glaucoma. Contact lens wearers are at risk for keratitis. These conditions typically present with a lot of pain and sometimes with vision changes. Inflammation of the sclera, if deep enough, can be very painful and cause vision loss; more superficial inflammation, called episcleritis, is not dangerous in and of itself but can also represent autoimmune disease. Because the range of possibilities is broad, I would strongly recommend you go see your primary care doctor so they can take a look at your eye and determine if you need to see an ophthalmologist. In the meantime, don't wear your contact lenses, and present right away if you have any changes in your vision.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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