Ophthalmology: Gritty, irritable eyes
In the fourth part of the series, Sophia Pathai, and Andrew McNaught explain possible causes of gritty, irritable eyes
Although it may seem a trivial problem, gritty irritable eyes cause discomfort for many patients. Patients on the ward will probably mention their symptoms to you and then expect you to help alleviate their problems. Irritable eyes also account for many consultations in primary care, because the symptoms can affect all age groups.
Find out if the problem is long standing or more acute. The patient will often volunteer that their eyes feel irritable. This tends to occur in both eyes at the same time. Ask if the eyes are sore rather than painful.1 Does the patient feel there is a foreign body or burning sensation, or do the eyes feel gritty or itchy? Ask about watering of the eyes and the presence of any discharge. The patient may have noticed that their eyelids are crusted when they wake up in the morning.
As usual, it is wise to find