Why is my right eye red

Sometimes harmless, sometimes emergency

Of course, it is easier if allergies to pollen are already known. Eye drops with antihistamines, for example with azelastine or levocabastine, work quickly, the mast cell stabilizer cromoglicic acid after one to two weeks with regular use. Patients often report a quick effect here too. This is presumably based on a washout effect and on moistening of the conjunctiva. It can be supported by an additional dose of wetting eye drops.


In most cases, it's not that easy. Does one red eye infection mean, two red eye allergy? Even if the statistics of this rule of thumb are often correct - there are of course exceptions that urge caution. There are eye infections that sooner or later show up in both eyes. Who knows how long a patient has "heroically" endured his symptoms? Conversely, in most cases a foreign body will only redden one eye. What they have in common is that ophthalmological advice is required in both cases.


Contagious and notifiable


This applies, for example, to the notifiable keratoconjunctivitis epidemica. Usually only one eye is affected at first, the second can follow two to three weeks later. The disease is caused by an adenovirus belonging to the APC (adeno-pharyngo-conjunctival) virus group. The viruses get from person to person through smear infection. This happens through hands or objects, such as towels, that have previously come into contact with tear fluid containing viruses. Infections in swimming pools, whirlpools or saunas are also possible. Patients complain of a foreign body sensation in the eye, photophobia, itching and tearing. In addition, there is swelling of the lymph nodes in front of the ear. If the eyelids swell, the eyes cannot be opened completely. After a week of illness, the cornea can also become involved.


Treatment is symptomatic. It is important to make patients aware of the high risk of infection, which can last over two weeks. Of course, infected people should not share towels or washcloths with others and wash them at 95 degrees Celsius after use. Hand disinfection with a virucidal disinfectant can help break the chain of infection.


Swimming pool conjunctivitis


The so-called swimming pool conjunctivitis, also known as paratrachoma, shows that an infection does not always proceed “one-eyed”. It can appear in one or both eyes. The trigger here is not chlorine in the water, but an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis (serotypes D to K). Eight to ten days after infection, lymph follicles form on the upper eyelid. The conjunctivae are very red and the eye secretes secretions.


The symptoms can last for several weeks. After that, a paratrachoma usually heals without any consequences. In adults, in addition to the symptoms of the eye, symptoms of the sexual organs and the urinary tract, for example in the form of a urinary tract infection, can occur. Treatment is usually done with local or systemic antibiotics, such as tetracyclines./