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Penlight Exam of External Ocular Tissues

Inspect the soft tissues around the eyes with a penlight. You are looking for excessive redness of the conjunctiva, which could be caused by dilation of blood vessels (inflammation, irritation, venous congestion) or hemorrhage (trauma, aging, blood coagulation disorder, hypertension). You are also looking for excessive mucus (inflammation), dryness (dry eye syndrome), yellowness (jaundice), brown/black pigment (melanosis or melanoma), or lumps (inflammation, cancer). Here is how to do a penlight exam.

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