The Ugly Looking Eye

Red eyes are ugly.  Red eyes can be benign or very dangerous.

There are lots of reasons why an eye may become red.  Often, “Visine” can work, but there are times when a “red eye” is very dangerous.


Eyes are usually beautiful to observe.  As an eye MD, even after 35 years of practice, I am enthralled at the beauty of most eyes that I examine.  It is also amazing how this thing of beauty can become so ugly so quickly.  Ugly eyes make most physicians, even experienced eye MDs cringe and look for a place to send the patient.  This is what makes our referral practice successful.

Blood Around The Eye

Hemorrhages under the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane surrounding the white of the eye) look terrible but are most always benign and resolve with or without our help.  Red eyes from superficial infections (conjunctivitis {pink eye}) also may look terrible but are usually self-limiting and also resolve with or without our help.  Although unlike the hemorrhages appropriate eye drops may lead to a much more rapid recovery.  Vision is usually normal in these ugly, red eyes.

Dangerous Causes Of Red Eye

Other causes of red, ugly eyes are much more sinister and usually are accompanied by decreased vision and pain. Inflammation or infection inside the eye or around the eye causes extreme pain and decreased vision.  This is always a warning sign to obtain help from an experienced eye MD.

Important Causes Of Red Eye

Inflammation must be differentiated from infection.  Most eye inflammations are very treatable with cortisone drops or pills.  Infections will be markedly worsened by cortisone treatment and this may result in permanent loss of vision, loss of the eye or even death.  Accurate diagnosis is obviously very important to make sure correct diagnosis is given.

If you have a red eye, call us to have it examined and make sure your vision is preserved. You can call 941-921-5335 for an appointment.


Tom Spoor, MD
Oculoplastics and Neuro-ophthalmology
Sarasota, Florida

Tom Spoor,MD
Oculoplastics and Neuro-ophthalmology
Warren, Michigan

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