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"My eyes are red and sensitive to light. What could be causing this?"

ZocdocAnswersMy eyes are red and sensitive to light. What could be causing this?


I'm a 20 year old college student, who wears contacts but hasn't for the past three month. I have a history of corneal abrasion but have never had any major eye infections or allergies before. It almost feels like a corneal abrasion except when I go outside during the day I can barely open my eyes because they are so sensitive to sunlight. I'm assuming I should go see an ophthalmologist because its not getting any better.


Redness of the eyes and sensitivity to sunlight is definitely something that should be checked out by a doctor, either your eye doctor or your primary care doctor. If the redness and sensitivity is in both eyes, then the most likely diagnosis is conjunctivitis, which is an infection of the outer lining of the eyes. Most of the time conjunctivitis is people your age will clear up without treatment, but it is worth having it checked out by your doctor, as occasionally antibiotic drops or ointments are helpful. If the redness or sensitivity is mostly in one eye, the the chance that it could be a corneal abrasion or other injury to the eye goes up. Again, the best approach would be to have the eye looked at by your doctor, who will be able to determine if further treatment is needed. Rarely eye pain and sensitivity can be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as an infection or inflammation of deeper parts of the eye. If the pain is getting worse, or if there is impairment of your vision or any other more concerning symptom then you should go to the emergency room rather than waiting to be seen by your regular doctor.

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