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Redness in left corner of eye, sharp stabbing pain. Cause of concern?

I woke up this morning with the left side of my left eye really red. It keeps getting more painful as the morning wears on. It feels possibly like someone is periodically stabbing it with something sharp. Do you know what could have caused this and do I need to be concerned about it?
Asked On : Thu, 6 Dec 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  241
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hello. I'm Dr. Christensen.
I'm sorry you're having problems with your eye. While it isn't possible to diagnose your condition without an examination, there are several thoughts that come to mind:
You might be in the early stages of viral conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. This condition, which can be quite uncomfortable, usually clears up on its own within a week or so. It is contagious, so the same measures you'd take to avoid spreading a cold apply here (i.e., frequent hand washing, no sharing of towels, facecloths or utensils, etc.)
Redness and pain on the outer portion of your eye could be a manifestation of dacryoadenitis, which is an infection of the lacrimal (tear) gland. The lacrimal gland is tucked beneath your upper eyelid, and an infection in this structure could trigger redness and discomfort in the adjacent conjunctiva (the normally clear membrane covering the white part of your eyeball). Dacryoadenitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and in some cases antibiotics are needed to address this condition. Rarely, dacryoadenitis is caused by a tumor in the lacrimal gland.
Finally, you might have a foreign body (sand, wood sliver, fleck of metal, etc.) or a chalazion (a plugged oil gland) on the back side of your upper eyelid. As your lid opens and closes, such an irregularity would rub against the underlying conjunctiva and trigger inflammation.
In any event, it would be wise to see a physician about this problem. Drops are available to ease the discomfort of conjunctivitis, bacterial dacryoadenitis requires antibiotic therapy, most foreign bodies are easily removed in a doctor's office, and chalazions may need to be drained. Until you see your doctor, gently apply a warm pack over your closed eyelid and take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (e.g., ibuprofen or naproxen) for your discomfort.
I hope that answers your question. Good luck!
Answered: Fri, 7 Dec 2012
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