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Episcleritis would be uncommon in a otherwise healthy 5 year old. It is more likely that he has mild conjunctivitis or even an allergic reaction.
If the eyeball is bright red this would be consistent with a subconjunctival hemorrhage, possibly from rubbing his eye in his sleep. Here is some information on this condition:
In the vast majority of cases, sub conjunctival hemorrhage is nothing to worry about. It is usually not a sign of any serious condition but rather is just a small broken blood vessel in the conjunctiva that looks much worse than it really is. No treatment is necessary. Think of a subconjunctival hemorrhage as a bruise. The reason it looks so red (some people say it looks like a piece of raw meat) is that the skin on your eye is very thin so the underlying blood shows through easily. On your arm, for instance, a bruise looks blue/purple because the overlying skin is thick, blocking the red color of the blood. Like a bruise elsewhere a subconjunctival hemorrhage will slowly go away over the course of a couple of weeks. It may spread around the globe some and change colors as it clears. This is nothing to be concerned about.
The best thing to do if you are concerned is to take him to his pediatrician and, if necessary, to an ophthalmologist.
If you can upload a picture of your son's eye I'd be happy to look at it for you. Here is one good way to upload a photo:
Save your picture on your computer, someplace easy to find it such as your desktop.
Go to www.tinypic.com
Upload your picture to the site tinypic.com by browsing for it as directed.
Once you do that it gives you a bunch of links you can use, one of which says "direct link for layouts" It is important to use this box. It is the forth one down from the top of the page.
Copy the link from inside this box and then paste it into your justanswer dialog box and send it to your expert.
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Hi, This follows on from a previous question to Dr. Rick (eye specialist). The history is as follows: my 5 year old son (no significant medical history) has a red left eye. Started approximately 3/7 ago. Initially he reported it to be pain free. There was no discharge. The medial side of the iris was red. Slightly raised. Later on the evening of day 1 he said his eye was hurting and his vision was blurry. He went to his local general practitioner in the morning - no foreign body, no fluorosceine uptake. He was diagnosed with conjunctivitis and given Chlorsig eye drops for the day (tds) and ointment for the night. We did miss one dose of drops yesterday whilst at school. Today his eye looks perhaps worse. I provided a link for two photos I took this morning. Thanks Marisa
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