Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Five Common Causes of Red Eye

Red Eye is one of the most common conditions we see in our GoHealth Urgent Care centers.  In fact, tens of millions of people in the U.S. experience this symptom each year.

Here are five of the most common causes of this eye condition.

1) Corneal Abrasion

Corneal abrasions are usually caused by trauma to the surface of the eye. Animal paws, fingernails, branches and leaves are common causes of this injury. Corneal abrasions cause eye redness, pain, increased tearing and blurry vision. Abrasions are often treated with antibiotic drops to make sure they don’t get infected.

2) Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis affects up to 40% of the U.S. population, causing itchy, watery, red eyes. It often occurs with other allergic symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose and an itchy throat. Allergic conjunctivitis is often treated with antihistamine eye drops and, if accompanied by other symptoms, oral antihistamines.

3) Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common cause of infectious conjunctivitis, usually occurring in the setting of an upper respiratory infection. In addition to experiencing itchy, watery eyes, patients also typically experience nasal congestion, a sore throat and a cough. Viral conjunctivitis resolves on its own without any specific treatment.

4) Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Unlike viral or allergic conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis usually only affects one eye, and it causes more severe symptoms than the other two forms of conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis causes significant eye redness, irritation or itching, and purulent discharge. It is highly contagious, and typically requires antibiotic eye drops.

5) Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore of the cornea, and it’s most commonly seen in people who over wear their contact lenses. Corneal ulcers are caused by bacteria that release a toxin that erodes the cornea, causing an ulcer to appear. If left untreated, corneal ulcers can result in significant complications, including permanent vision abnormalities or blindness. This serious eye condition, which often causes a red eye, increased tearing, light sensitivity and eye pain, requires antibiotic eye drops and close follow-up with an eye doctor.

We're Here to Help

At GoHealth Urgent Care, we’re here 7 days a week to care for you and any eye redness you may be experiencing. Click below if there’s anything we can do to help you feel better today:



We Put You First

Check-in online or just walk in and be cared for from best-in-class providers who make you their priority

people iconCulture Of Care
Culture Of Care

Highly skilled, caring providers go out of their way to make you their #1 priority.

hands shaking iconTrusted Partnerships
Trusted Partnerships

We partner with leading health systems that have the finest networks of physicians and clinicians.

workflow iconEffortless Experience
Effortless Experience

Enjoy effortless access with online check-ins, walk in appointments and integrated electronic medical records.

marker iconInnovative Facilities
Innovative Facilities

State of the art urgent care centers welcome you with a clean, contemporary design engineered for your comfort and privacy.

Health News and Tips for the Whole Family

By providing your email address you agree that GoHealth Urgent Care and our health system partner may contact you in the future. Your privacy is important to us; view our Privacy Policy.