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The Red Eye

October 23, 2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM
Image for The Red Eye

One of the mantras we veterinarians learn early in our clinical training is that a red eye is an emergency. Why is that?

The “white” of the eye is called the sclera. In an unhealthy, irritated eye the sclera will almost always have increased blood supply and inflammation, resulting in a red appearance. Often, there will be discharge as well.

The sclera can become inflamed from myriad causes, such as a scratch or ulcer in the cornea, conjunctivitis (aka “pink eye”), uveitis (inflammation within the middle of the eye), or glaucoma. Some of those problems can be threatening to vision or even to the eye itself if not treated immediately, and a visit to the veterinarian is the only way to make a diagnosis.

If your pet suddenly has a red, irritated eye do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. Prompt evaluation and treatment may save your pet’s vision.


Jami Stromberg, DVM