Department Practice Guidelines| Volume 30, ISSUE 5, P506-514, September 2016

Clinical Evaluation of Red Eyes in Pediatric Patients


      Patients with the primary symptom of a red eye are commonly seen in pediatric primary care clinics. The differential diagnoses of a red eye are broad, but with a succinct history and physical examination, the diagnosis can be readily identified in many patients. Identifying conditions that threaten vision and understanding the urgency of referral to an ophthalmologist is paramount. Some systemic diseases such as leukemia, sarcoidosis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis can present with the chief symptom of a red eye. Finally, trauma, ranging from mild to severe, often precipitates an office visit with a red eye, and thus understanding the signs that raise concern for a ruptured globe is essential. In the primary care setting, with a focused history, a few simple examination techniques, and an appreciation of the differential diagnosis, one can feel confident in managing patients with acute red eyes.

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      Casey Beal, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.


      Beverly Giordano, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.