Red Eye: The Red Herring of Otolaryngologic Diseases
Background: Red eye of otolaryngologic origin could present a diagnostic conundrum. A clear understanding of the otolaryngologic differential diagnosis is required to clinch a diagnosis. In this paper, we describe some diferential diagnosis and diagnostic features of red eyes of otolaryngologic origin.
Objective:To describe some diferential diagnosis and diagnostic features of red eyes of otolaryngologic origin with a view to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. Methods: Records of patients with red eyes of otolaryngologic origin were reviewed. The otolaryngologic culprits and features that proved their culpability were highlighted.
Results: In all, 32 patients with red eyes of otolaryngologic origin were seen. Majority had used eye drops as primary eye care. About 71.9% seen by the general practitioners were referred to ophthalmologists on account of persistent ocular symptoms. The otolaryngologic culprits were mostly nasal and paranasal diseases. Eight(25%) required conservative treatment, 24(75%) required surgical intervention and 3(9.4%) developed complete blindness.
Conclusion: This study shows that red eyes of otolaryngologic origin are mostly caused by nasal and paranasal sinus diseases. However, both patients and general practioners could be misled to believe the eye is the primary source of the ocular symptoms. Such diagnostic conundrum are associated not only with increased morbidities but also cost of treatments. The need to have a clear understanding of the otolaryngologic differential diagnosis of red eyes is hereby stressed. Also, the public must desist from arbitrary use of eye drops and the slogan: “If symptoms persits after 2 days consult your doctor” should be a community watchword.