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Conjunctivitis (Clinical)

Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Itching is a chief symptom in allergic conjunctivitis. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and includes antibiotic and antiviral therapy, glucocorticoids, and antihistamines.

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Epidemiology[1,3]

  • Most common non-traumatic eye complaint
  • Estimated incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in the United States is 6 million people per year 
  • Most frequently found in infants, school-age children, and the elderly

Etiology

Infectious conjunctivitis Infectious Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis

  • Viral[1 –4]
    • Adenoviruses (most common cause, 65%–90% of cases)
    • Herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology (most commonly seen in children and infants)[11]
    • Varicella zoster virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology (most common in the elderly)
    • Picornavirus ( enterovirus Enterovirus A genus of the family picornaviridae whose members preferentially inhabit the intestinal tract of a variety of hosts. The genus contains many species. Newly described members of human enteroviruses are assigned continuous numbers with the species designated ‘human enterovirus’. Coxsackievirus and coxsackievirus Coxsackievirus Coxsackievirus is a member of a family of viruses called Picornaviridae and the genus Enterovirus. Coxsackieviruses are single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses, and are divided into coxsackie group A and B viruses. Both groups of viruses cause upper respiratory infections, rashes, aseptic meningitis, or encephalitis. Coxsackievirus cause acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis)
    • Molluscum contagiosum Molluscum contagiosum Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection limited to the epidermis and is common in children below 5 years of age. Lesions appear as grouped, flesh-colored, dome-shaped papules with central umbilication. Molluscum Contagiosum (causes chronic follicular conjunctivitis Chronic Follicular Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis)
    • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs (usually affects posterior segment of the eye)
  • Bacterial[1 –3,5]
    • Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus aureus Potentially pathogenic bacteria found in nasal membranes, skin, hair follicles, and perineum of warm-blooded animals. They may cause a wide range of infections and intoxications. Brain Abscess (most common cause in adults)
    • Streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Haemophilus influenzae Haemophilus Influenzae A species of Haemophilus found on the mucous membranes of humans and a variety of animals. The species is further divided into biotypes I through viii. Haemophilus (most common cause in children)
    • Moraxella Moraxella Moraxella is a genus of gram-negative diplococci, with M. catarrhalis being the most clinically relevant species. M. catarrhalis is part of the normal flora of the upper respiratory tract, but it can cause infection in susceptible individuals. The infection is transmitted through respiratory droplets and can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations in adults and otitis media in children. Moraxella catarrhalis
    • Neisseria gonorrhoeae Neisseria gonorrhoeae A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of gonorrhea. Neisseria (more common in newborns) or Neisseria meningitidis Neisseria meningitidis A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria. It is a commensal and pathogen only of humans, and can be carried asymptomatically in the nasopharynx. When found in cerebrospinal fluid it is the causative agent of cerebrospinal meningitis. It is also found in venereal discharges and blood. There are at least 13 serogroups based on antigenic differences in the capsular polysaccharides; the ones causing most meningitis infections being a, b, c, y, and w-135. Each serogroup can be further classified by serotype, serosubtype, and immunotype. Neisseria 
    • Chlamydia trachomatis Chlamydia trachomatis Type species of Chlamydia causing a variety of ocular and urogenital diseases. Chlamydia
    • Gram-negative enteric flora

Noninfectious conjunctivitis Noninfectious Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis

  • Allergic (e.g., from airborne allergens)[1 –3,6] 
  • Nonallergic (e.g., “dry eye syndrome,” associated with blepharitis Blepharitis Blepharitis is an ocular condition characterized by eyelid inflammation. Anterior blepharitis involves the eyelid skin and eyelashes, while the posterior type affects the meibomian glands. Often, these conditions overlap. Blepharitis, Sjögren’s syndrome, reactive arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis)[1 –3]
    • Mechanical/irritative/toxic (e.g., dry eye syndrome, associated with blepharitis Blepharitis Blepharitis is an ocular condition characterized by eyelid inflammation. Anterior blepharitis involves the eyelid skin and eyelashes, while the posterior type affects the meibomian glands. Often, these conditions overlap. Blepharitis)
    • Immune-mediated (e.g., Sjögren’s syndrome, reactive arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis, Graves’ disease Graves’ disease A common form of hyperthyroidism with a diffuse hyperplastic goiter. It is an autoimmune disorder that produces antibodies against the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor. These autoantibodies activate the TSH receptor, thereby stimulating the thyroid gland and hypersecretion of thyroid hormones. These autoantibodies can also affect the eyes (Graves ophthalmopathy) and the skin (Graves dermopathy). Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism ophthalmopathy)
    • Neoplastic (e.g., sebaceous carcinoma, ocular surface squamous neoplasia)

Clinical Presentation

Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship can present with some or all of the following symptoms:[1 –3]

  • Hyperemia of the conjunctiva Conjunctiva The mucous membrane that covers the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior pericorneal surface of the eyeball. Eye: Anatomy with injection of blood vessels (classic “pink eye” appearance)
  • Watery eyes or excessive tearing
  • Swelling Swelling Inflammation of the eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis and conjunctiva Conjunctiva The mucous membrane that covers the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior pericorneal surface of the eyeball. Eye: Anatomy ( chemosis Chemosis Conjunctivitis)
  • Discharge and crust Crust Dried exudate of body fluids (blood, pus, or sebum) on an area of damaged skin Secondary Skin Lesions formation (varies depending on etiology)
  • Itching, burning, or foreign-body sensation in the eye
  • Photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache 
  • Normally reactive pupils with normal visual acuity Visual Acuity Clarity or sharpness of ocular vision or the ability of the eye to see fine details. Visual acuity depends on the functions of retina, neuronal transmission, and the interpretative ability of the brain. Normal visual acuity is expressed as 20/20 indicating that one can see at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity can also be influenced by brightness, color, and contrast. Ophthalmic Exam (important for differential diagnoses!)
Table: Clinical presentation of conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis based on etiology
Viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Allergic conjunctivitis Allergic Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis
Discharge Clear, watery discharge Thick, purulent yellow, white, or green discharge with severe crusting (eyes glued shut upon awakening) Clear, watery discharge
Eye involvement Begins unilateral, but usually progresses to bilateral (highly infectious) Unilateral, can rarely progress to bilateral Bilateral
Conjunctival appearance Mostly peripheral injection with conjunctival follicles (small swollen papules usually on the palpebral and bulbar conjunctiva Conjunctiva The mucous membrane that covers the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior pericorneal surface of the eyeball. Eye: Anatomy) Diffuse injection, non-follicular Diffuse injection with chemosis Chemosis Conjunctivitis and conjunctival follicles
Other symptoms Extraocular signs of viral infection ( fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever, lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy, pharyngitis Pharyngitis Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the back of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis is usually caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, which is viral in most cases. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, and hoarseness. Pharyngitis, rash Rash Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) Signs of bacterial infection, depending on etiology Sneezing Sneezing The sudden, forceful, involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth caused by irritation to the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. Rhinovirus, itching, atopic dermatitis Dermatitis Any inflammation of the skin. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Complications
  • Corneal ulcers Corneal Ulcers Loss of epithelial tissue from the surface of the cornea due to progressive erosion and necrosis of the tissue; usually caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Corneal Abrasions, Erosion, and Ulcers
  • Visual impairment
  • Otitis media
  • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
  • Cellulitis Cellulitis Cellulitis is a common infection caused by bacteria that affects the dermis and subcutaneous tissue of the skin. It is frequently caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. The skin infection presents as an erythematous and edematous area with warmth and tenderness. Cellulitis
  • Pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia (in infants)
  • Chronic conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis
  • Chronic dry eye

Additional features of infectious conjunctivitis Infectious Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis[2,12]

Viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:

  • Some patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship may have:
    • Common cold Common cold A catarrhal disorder of the upper respiratory tract, which may be viral or a mixed infection. It generally involves a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. Rhinovirus or respiratory infection (seen in many viral infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease)
    • Sore throat Sore throat Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the back of the throat (pharynx). Pharyngitis is usually caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, which is viral in most cases. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, and hoarseness. Pharyngitis
    • Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy (seen in infectious mononucleosis Mononucleosis Infectious mononucleosis (IM), also known as “the kissing disease,” is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Its common name is derived from its main method of transmission: the spread of infected saliva via kissing. Clinical manifestations of IM include fever, tonsillar pharyngitis, and lymphadenopathy. Mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus Epstein-Barr Virus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Herpesviridae family. This highly prevalent virus is mostly transmitted through contact with oropharyngeal secretions from an infected individual. The virus can infect epithelial cells and B lymphocytes, where it can undergo lytic replication or latency. Epstein-Barr Virus)
    • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions manifestations:
      • Maculopapular Maculopapular Dermatologic Examination rash Rash Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever seen in rubella Rubella An acute infectious disease caused by the rubella virus. The virus enters the respiratory tract via airborne droplet and spreads to the lymphatic system. Rubella Virus and rubeola Rubeola Measles (also known as rubeola) is caused by a single-stranded, linear, negative-sense RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae. It is highly contagious and spreads by respiratory droplets or direct-contact transmission from an infected person. Typically a disease of childhood, measles classically starts with cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis, followed by a maculopapular rash. Measles Virus
      • Vesicular rash Rash Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever seen in infection with varicella zoster or herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
  • Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis Keratoconjunctivitis Simultaneous inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome:
    • A more severe and highly contagious viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis 
    • Caused by adenovirus Adenovirus Adenovirus (member of the family Adenoviridae) is a nonenveloped, double-stranded DNA virus. Adenovirus is transmitted in a variety of ways, and it can have various presentations based on the site of entry. Presentation can include febrile pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, acute respiratory disease, atypical pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Adenovirus types 8, 19, and 37
    • Presents with fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever and preauricular lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy
    • Can lead to keratitis Keratitis Inflammation of the cornea. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 and vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam loss

Bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:

  • Acute:
    • Most common
    • Typical presentation of multiple bacterial etiologies 
  • Hyperacute:
    • Severe conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis (copious exudates, eye pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, chemosis Chemosis Conjunctivitis, eyelid swelling Swelling Inflammation) with rapid onset and progression
    • Can be associated with corneal perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis
    • Associated with Neisseria gonorrhoeae Neisseria gonorrhoeae A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of gonorrhea. Neisseria or N. meningitidis N. meningitidis A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria. It is a commensal and pathogen only of humans, and can be carried asymptomatically in the nasopharynx. When found in cerebrospinal fluid it is the causative agent of cerebrospinal meningitis. It is also found in venereal discharges and blood. There are at least 13 serogroups based on antigenic differences in the capsular polysaccharides; the ones causing most meningitis infections being a, b, c, y, and w-135. Each serogroup can be further classified by serotype, serosubtype, and immunotype. Neisseria
  • Chronic:
    • ≥ 4 weeks of symptoms
    • Often with blepharitis Blepharitis Blepharitis is an ocular condition characterized by eyelid inflammation. Anterior blepharitis involves the eyelid skin and eyelashes, while the posterior type affects the meibomian glands. Often, these conditions overlap. Blepharitis ( inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the eyelid)
    • An example is trachoma Trachoma A chronic infection of the conjunctiva and cornea caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydial Infections, a chronic follicular conjunctivitis Chronic Follicular Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis (caused by Chlamydia trachomatis Chlamydia trachomatis Type species of Chlamydia causing a variety of ocular and urogenital diseases. Chlamydia) seen in children in developing countries.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is mainly clinical, based on history and physical exam. Testing is warranted only in certain cases.[13,9]

  • Initial evaluation:
    • Inquire about the following:
      • Signs and symptoms (e.g., pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, itching, presence of discharge, characteristics of discharge)
      • Duration
      • Exacerbating factors
      • Exposure to an individual with similar symptoms
      • Trauma or surgery
      • Use of contact lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy
      • Known medical history (e.g., allergy Allergy An abnormal adaptive immune response that may or may not involve antigen-specific IgE Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction, systemic disease, immunocompromised immunocompromised A human or animal whose immunologic mechanism is deficient because of an immunodeficiency disorder or other disease or as the result of the administration of immunosuppressive drugs or radiation. Gastroenteritis state)
      • Social history Social History Adult Health Maintenance (e.g., smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases, travel, sexual history)
    • Examination:
      • Anatomic eye examination (e.g., fluorescein Fluorescein A phthalic indicator dye that appears yellow-green in normal tear film and bright green in a more alkaline medium such as the aqueous humor. Pseudomonas uptake to check the cornea Cornea The transparent anterior portion of the fibrous coat of the eye consisting of five layers: stratified squamous corneal epithelium; bowman membrane; corneal stroma; descemet membrane; and mesenchymal corneal endothelium. It serves as the first refracting medium of the eye. Eye: Anatomy) that includes surrounding structures 
      • Functional eye examination (e.g., vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam test with Snellen chart, extraocular movement, and response to light)
      • Check related areas based on presenting symptoms (e.g., skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, lymph nodes Lymph Nodes They are oval or bean shaped bodies (1 – 30 mm in diameter) located along the lymphatic system. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy, upper and lower respiratory examination).
  • Viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:[14]
    • History of recent viral infection (not mandatory)
      • If symptoms are recurrent/chronic →  conjunctival smear, cultures, or viral isolation required 
      • Mononuclear cells and lymphocytes Lymphocytes Lymphocytes are heterogeneous WBCs involved in immune response. Lymphocytes develop from the bone marrow, starting from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and progressing to common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs). B and T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells arise from the lineage. Lymphocytes: Histology are seen on Giemsa stain Giemsa stain Borrelia of conjunctival scrapings.
      • Rapid adenovirus Adenovirus Adenovirus (member of the family Adenoviridae) is a nonenveloped, double-stranded DNA virus. Adenovirus is transmitted in a variety of ways, and it can have various presentations based on the site of entry. Presentation can include febrile pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, acute respiratory disease, atypical pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Adenovirus immunoassay, point-of-care test (AdenoPlus):[3,8]
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:[1,3,5]
    • If persistent or severe disease, diagnosis is uncertain, and in newborn Newborn An infant during the first 28 days after birth. Physical Examination of the Newborn conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis →  conjunctival scrapings, culture, or PCR PCR Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique that amplifies DNA fragments exponentially for analysis. The process is highly specific, allowing for the targeting of specific genomic sequences, even with minuscule sample amounts. The PCR cycles multiple times through 3 phases: denaturation of the template DNA, annealing of a specific primer to the individual DNA strands, and synthesis/elongation of new DNA molecules. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) required
    • Findings for various bacterial infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease:
      • Bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis shows a predominance of neutrophils Neutrophils Granular leukocytes having a nucleus with three to five lobes connected by slender threads of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing fine inconspicuous granules and stainable by neutral dyes. Innate Immunity: Phagocytes and Antigen Presentation on Giemsa staining.
      • In gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum Ophthalmia Neonatorum Acute conjunctival inflammation in the newborn, usually caused by maternal gonococcal infection. The causative agent is Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The baby’s eyes are contaminated during passage through the birth canal. Gonorrhea, Gram stain Gram stain Klebsiella of exudate Exudate Exudates are fluids, cells, or other cellular substances that are slowly discharged from blood vessels usually from inflamed tissues. Pleural Effusion shows gram-negative intracellular diplococci; culture in modified Thayer-Martin medium Thayer-Martin Medium Brucella/Brucellosis grows N. gonorrhoeae.
      • In chlamydial conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis, Giemsa stain Giemsa stain Borrelia shows neutrophils Neutrophils Granular leukocytes having a nucleus with three to five lobes connected by slender threads of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing fine inconspicuous granules and stainable by neutral dyes. Innate Immunity: Phagocytes and Antigen Presentation with inclusion bodies and plasma Plasma The residual portion of blood that is left after removal of blood cells by centrifugation without prior blood coagulation. Transfusion Products cells.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis Allergic Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:
    • Clinical history and signs and symptoms are usually sufficient.
    • Eye pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is not characteristic of allergic conjunctivitis Allergic Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis, and more serious disorders must be ruled out, including angle-closure glaucoma Angle-Closure Glaucoma Glaucoma, scleritis Scleritis Refers to any inflammation of the sclera including episcleritis, a benign condition affecting only the episclera, which is generally short-lived and easily treated. Classic scleritis, on the other hand, affects deeper tissue and is characterized by higher rates of visual acuity loss and even mortality, particularly in necrotizing form. Crohn’s Disease, or episcleritis.
    • If patient does not respond to therapy, referral to an ophthalmologist is indicated, who may refer to an allergist for possible skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions testing to detect the causative allergen(s).
  • In cases of visual impairment, significantly increased photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, inability to keep the eye open, abnormal pupil Pupil The pupil is the space within the eye that permits light to project onto the retina. Anatomically located in front of the lens, the pupil’s size is controlled by the surrounding iris. The pupil provides insight into the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Pupil: Physiology and Abnormalities reaction to light, or severe headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess with nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, other diagnoses must be ruled out (and specialist referrals are indicated):
    • Glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma
    • Uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea
    • Keratitis Keratitis Inflammation of the cornea. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2
    • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis (especially in infants)

Management

Management for antimicrobial treatment will vary based on locale and access to medications. The following recommendations are based on US and UK guidelines.

Viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis management

  • Uncomplicated viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is treated symptomatically.
    • Prevention of spread:[14]
      • Practice good hand hygiene Hand hygiene Practices involved in preventing the transmission of diseases by hand. Surgical Infections.
      • Use separate towels from infected person.
      • Maintain distance from others while contagious (7‒14 days after onset of symptoms).
    • Cold compresses
    • Antihistamine drops/artificial tears
  • Herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections infection:[1,3]
    • Usually self-limited but should be treated if corneal involvement is suspected
    • Topical or oral antivirals
  • Herpes zoster Herpes Zoster Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus in the Herpesviridae family. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is more common in adults and occurs due to the reactivation of VZV. Varicella-Zoster Virus/Chickenpox infection:[3]
    • Oral antivirals
    • Shingles Shingles Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus in the Herpesviridae family. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is more common in adults and occurs due to the reactivation of VZV. Varicella-Zoster Virus/Chickenpox vaccine Vaccine Suspensions of killed or attenuated microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa), antigenic proteins, synthetic constructs, or other bio-molecular derivatives, administered for the prevention, amelioration, or treatment of infectious and other diseases. Vaccination is recommended in individuals over 50 years of age (if there are no contraindications Contraindications A condition or factor associated with a recipient that makes the use of a drug, procedure, or physical agent improper or inadvisable. Contraindications may be absolute (life threatening) or relative (higher risk of complications in which benefits may outweigh risks). Noninvasive Ventilation).
Table: Treatment options for viral conjunctivitis Viral Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis[1,3,12,13,15]
Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis type Causes Treatment
Viral (general) Variety of viruses Viruses Minute infectious agents whose genomes are composed of DNA or RNA, but not both. They are characterized by a lack of independent metabolism and the inability to replicate outside living host cells. Virology but majority of cases caused by adenovirus Adenovirus Adenovirus (member of the family Adenoviridae) is a nonenveloped, double-stranded DNA virus. Adenovirus is transmitted in a variety of ways, and it can have various presentations based on the site of entry. Presentation can include febrile pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, acute respiratory disease, atypical pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Adenovirus
  • Generally self-limited
  • Avoid spread of virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology.
  • Additional measures:
    • Cold compresses
    • Artificial tears
    • Antihistamines Antihistamines Antihistamines are drugs that target histamine receptors, particularly H1 and H2 receptors. H1 antagonists are competitive and reversible inhibitors of H1 receptors. First-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause sedation. Antihistamines
Herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections Herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
  • Refer to ophthalmology.
  • Avoid topical glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids are a class within the corticosteroid family. Glucocorticoids are chemically and functionally similar to endogenous cortisol. There are a wide array of indications, which primarily benefit from the antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of this class of drugs. Glucocorticoids.
  • Start treatment if corneal involvement is suspected:
    • Topical ganciclovir Ganciclovir An acyclovir analog that is a potent inhibitor of the herpesvirus family including cytomegalovirus. Ganciclovir is used to treat complications from aids-associated cytomegalovirus infections. Antivirals for Herpes Virus 0.15% gel 5 times/day until healed, then 3 times/day for 1 week
    • Topical trifluridine 1%: 1 drop 8 times/day
    • Topical acyclovir Acyclovir A guanosine analog that acts as an antimetabolite. Viruses are especially susceptible. Used especially against herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles) 3% ointment: Apply 5 times/day until 3 days after corneal lesions are healed.
    • Oral acyclovir Acyclovir A guanosine analog that acts as an antimetabolite. Viruses are especially susceptible. Used especially against herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles): 400 mg 5 times/day for 7‒10 days
    • Oral valacyclovir Valacyclovir A prodrug of acyclovir that is used in the treatment of herpes zoster and herpes simplex virus infection of the skin and mucous membranes, including genital herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles): 500 mg 3 times/day for 7‒10 days
Herpes zoster Herpes Zoster Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus in the Herpesviridae family. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is more common in adults and occurs due to the reactivation of VZV. Varicella-Zoster Virus/Chickenpox Varicella zoster virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology Topical agents alone are not enough:
  • Oral acyclovir Acyclovir A guanosine analog that acts as an antimetabolite. Viruses are especially susceptible. Used especially against herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles): 800 mg 5 times/day for 7‒10 days
  • Oral famciclovir Famciclovir An aminopurine derivative and prodrug of penciclovir which is a competitive inhibitor of herpes simplex 2 DNA polymerase. It is used to treat herpes simplex virus infection. Antivirals for Herpes Virus: 500 mg 3 times/day for 7‒10 days
  • Oral valacyclovir Valacyclovir A prodrug of acyclovir that is used in the treatment of herpes zoster and herpes simplex virus infection of the skin and mucous membranes, including genital herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles): 1,000 mg 3 times/day for 7‒10 days
  • IV acyclovir Acyclovir A guanosine analog that acts as an antimetabolite. Viruses are especially susceptible. Used especially against herpes. Herpes Zoster (Shingles) for immunocompromised immunocompromised A human or animal whose immunologic mechanism is deficient because of an immunodeficiency disorder or other disease or as the result of the administration of immunosuppressive drugs or radiation. Gastroenteritis patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship: 10 mg/kg 3 times/day for 7 days

Bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis management

  • > 60% of cases are self-limiting Self-Limiting Meningitis in Children within 2 weeks.[3]
  • Topical broad-spectrum Broad-Spectrum Fluoroquinolones antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides, trimethoprim Trimethoprim The sulfonamides are a class of antimicrobial drugs inhibiting folic acid synthesize in pathogens. The prototypical drug in the class is sulfamethoxazole. Although not technically sulfonamides, trimethoprim, dapsone, and pyrimethamine are also important antimicrobial agents inhibiting folic acid synthesis. The agents are often combined with sulfonamides, resulting in a synergistic effect. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim–polymyxin B) may hasten recovery and allow patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship to return to work/school earlier.
  • Immediate antibiotic therapy:[12]
    • Healthcare workers
    • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship in the hospital or other healthcare facilities
    • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with risk factors (uncontrolled DM DM Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus, contact lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy use, dry eye, or recent ocular surgery)
    • Children in school or daycare setting
  • Delay antibiotic therapy:
    • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with no risk factors and good follow-up
    • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who do not want antibiotics
  • Neisserial and chlamydial infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease require systemic treatment:[1,3,12]
    • For gonococcal conjunctivitis Gonococcal Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis:
      • Single dose of intramuscular ceftriaxone Ceftriaxone A broad-spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic and cefotaxime derivative with a very long half-life and high penetrability to meninges, eyes and inner ears. Cephalosporins plus oral doxycycline or azithromycin Azithromycin A semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic structurally related to erythromycin. It has been used in the treatment of Mycobacterium avium intracellulare infections, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. Macrolides and Ketolides
      • Alternative agents: cefotaxime Cefotaxime Semisynthetic broad-spectrum cephalosporin. Cephalosporins or ceftazidime Ceftazidime Semisynthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial derived from cephaloridine and used especially for pseudomonas and other gram-negative infections in debilitated patients. Cephalosporins
    • For chlamydial neonatal conjunctivitis Chlamydial Neonatal Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis, oral erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides is preferred.
  • Prevention of ophthalmia neonatorum Ophthalmia Neonatorum Acute conjunctival inflammation in the newborn, usually caused by maternal gonococcal infection. The causative agent is Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The baby’s eyes are contaminated during passage through the birth canal. Gonorrhea: prenatal maternal screening Screening Preoperative Care, systemic antibiotic treatment, and prophylaxis Prophylaxis Cephalosporins for newborns (single-use tubes of ophthalmic 0.5% erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides ointment)
Table: Treatment options for bacterial conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis[1,3,12,13,15]
Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis type Causative organism Treatment
Bacterial (general)
  • Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus aureus Potentially pathogenic bacteria found in nasal membranes, skin, hair follicles, and perineum of warm-blooded animals. They may cause a wide range of infections and intoxications. Brain Abscess
  • Streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae Haemophilus Influenzae A species of Haemophilus found on the mucous membranes of humans and a variety of animals. The species is further divided into biotypes I through viii. Haemophilus
  • Moraxella catarrhalis Moraxella catarrhalis Gram-negative aerobic cocci of low virulence that colonize the nasopharynx and occasionally cause meningitis; bacteremia; empyema; pericarditis; and pneumonia. Moraxella
  • Available broad-spectrum Broad-Spectrum Fluoroquinolones topical agents are usually effective (base choices on cost-effectiveness and local resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing patterns):
    • Erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides ointment: ½ inch 4 times/day for 5–7 days
    • Trimethoprim Trimethoprim The sulfonamides are a class of antimicrobial drugs inhibiting folic acid synthesize in pathogens. The prototypical drug in the class is sulfamethoxazole. Although not technically sulfonamides, trimethoprim, dapsone, and pyrimethamine are also important antimicrobial agents inhibiting folic acid synthesis. The agents are often combined with sulfonamides, resulting in a synergistic effect. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim–polymyxin B: 1‒2 drops 4 times/day for 5–7 days
    • Sulfacetamide ointment: ½ inch every 3–4 hours and at bedtime
    • Sulfacetamide solution: 1–2 drops every 2–3 hours for 1 week
    • Azithromycin Azithromycin A semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic structurally related to erythromycin. It has been used in the treatment of Mycobacterium avium intracellulare infections, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. Macrolides and Ketolides: 1 drop 2 times/day for 2 days, then 1 drop/day for 5 days
    • Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad-spectrum, bactericidal antibiotics inhibiting bacterial DNA replication. Fluoroquinolones cover gram-negative, anaerobic, and atypical organisms, as well as some gram-positive and multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms. Fluoroquinolones (preferred for wearers of contact lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy due to antipseudomonal activity):
      • Ciprofloxacin Ciprofloxacin A broad-spectrum antimicrobial carboxyfluoroquinoline. Fluoroquinolones 0.3% solution: 1–2 drops 4 times/day for 5–7 days
      • Ofloxacin Ofloxacin A synthetic fluoroquinolone antibacterial agent that inhibits the supercoiling activity of bacterial DNA gyrase, halting DNA replication. Fluoroquinolones 0.3% solution: 1–2 drops 4 times/day for 5–7 days
      • Gatifloxacin: 1 drop up to 8 times/day for 1 day, then 2–4 times/day until day 7
      • Levofloxacin Levofloxacin The l-isomer of ofloxacin. Fluoroquinolones 0.5%: 1–2 drops up to 8 times/day for 2 days, then every 4 hours until day 7
      • Moxifloxacin Moxifloxacin A fluoroquinolone that acts as an inhibitor of DNA topoisomerase II and is used as a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent. Fluoroquinolones: 1 drop 3 times/day for 1 week
    • Aminoglycosides Aminoglycosides Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotics including gentamicin, tobramycin, amikacin, neomycin, plazomicin, and streptomycin. The class binds the 30S ribosomal subunit to inhibit bacterial protein synthesis. Unlike other medications with a similar mechanism of action, aminoglycosides are bactericidal. Aminoglycosides (not 1st-line treatment; prolonged use can be toxic to corneal epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology):
      • Gentamicin Gentamicin Aminoglycosides 0.3% ½ inch (ointment) or 1–2 drops (solution) 4 times/day for 1 week
      • Tobramycin 0.3% ½ inch (ointment) 3 times/day or 1–2 drops (solution) 4 times/day for 1 week
    Gonococcal infection (Treat for chlamydial infection concurrently.) Neisseria gonorrhoeae Neisseria gonorrhoeae A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of gonorrhea. Neisseria
    • Ceftriaxone Ceftriaxone A broad-spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic and cefotaxime derivative with a very long half-life and high penetrability to meninges, eyes and inner ears. Cephalosporins: 250 mg (125 mg in children < 45 kg) IM for 1 dose, PLUS
    • Treatment for chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria. They lack a peptidoglycan layer and are best visualized using Giemsa stain. The family of Chlamydiaceae comprises 3 pathogens that can infect humans: Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Chlamydia
    Chlamydial infection Chlamydia trachomatis Chlamydia trachomatis Type species of Chlamydia causing a variety of ocular and urogenital diseases. Chlamydia Topical treatment is not effective.
    • Doxycycline: 100 mg orally 2 times/day for 7 days, OR
    • Azithromycin Azithromycin A semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic structurally related to erythromycin. It has been used in the treatment of Mycobacterium avium intracellulare infections, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. Macrolides and Ketolides:
      • 1 g orally once
      • Option for adults and choice for children < 8 years of age
    • Erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides base or ethylsuccinate:
      • 50 mg/kg/day orally divided into 4 doses for 14 days
      • Alternative for children < 45 kg
    Ophthalmia neonatorum Ophthalmia Neonatorum Acute conjunctival inflammation in the newborn, usually caused by maternal gonococcal infection. The causative agent is Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The baby’s eyes are contaminated during passage through the birth canal. Gonorrhea Neisseria gonorrhoeae Neisseria gonorrhoeae A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of gonorrhea. Neisseria
    • Ceftriaxone Ceftriaxone A broad-spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic and cefotaxime derivative with a very long half-life and high penetrability to meninges, eyes and inner ears. Cephalosporins: 25–50 mg/kg IV or IM, single dose, not to exceed 125 mg
    Chlamydia trachomatis Chlamydia trachomatis Type species of Chlamydia causing a variety of ocular and urogenital diseases. Chlamydia
    • Erythromycin Erythromycin A bacteriostatic antibiotic macrolide produced by streptomyces erythreus. Erythromycin a is considered its major active component. In sensitive organisms, it inhibits protein synthesis by binding to 50s ribosomal subunits. This binding process inhibits peptidyl transferase activity and interferes with translocation of amino acids during translation and assembly of proteins. Macrolides and Ketolides 50 mg/kg/day orally divided into 4 doses for 14 days

    Allergic conjunctivitis Allergic Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis management[13,6,1214]

    Options include the following:

    • Cold compresses
    • Antihistamine drops/artificial tears
    • Antihistamines Antihistamines Antihistamines are drugs that target histamine receptors, particularly H1 and H2 receptors. H1 antagonists are competitive and reversible inhibitors of H1 receptors. First-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause sedation. Antihistamines and mast-cell stabilizers (e.g., ketotifen Ketotifen A cycloheptathiophene blocker of histamine h1 receptors and release of inflammatory mediators. It has been proposed for the treatment of asthma, rhinitis, skin allergies, and anaphylaxis. Antihistamines)
    • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications consisting of aspirin, reversible NSAIDs, and selective NSAIDs. NSAIDs are used as antiplatelet, analgesic, antipyretic, and antiinflammatory agents. Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., ketorolac)
    • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis (e.g., fluorometholone):
      • Used only under the supervision of an ophthalmologist 
      • An option in refractory cases and generally for short periods (≤ 2 weeks)
      • Carries adverse ocular side effects, including cataracts, infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, and elevated intraocular pressure Intraocular Pressure The pressure of the fluids in the eye. Ophthalmic Exam
    • Oral antihistamines Antihistamines Antihistamines are drugs that target histamine receptors, particularly H1 and H2 receptors. H1 antagonists are competitive and reversible inhibitors of H1 receptors. First-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause sedation. Antihistamines: can be used especially in the setting of concomitant rhinitis Rhinitis Inflammation of the nasal mucosa, the mucous membrane lining the nasal cavities. Rhinitis and/or itching
    Table: Therapeutic options for allergic conjunctivitis Allergic Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis[12,14]
    Medication class Medication options
    Antihistamine/vasoconstrictor agents Over-the-counter options, generally given at 1–2 drops 4 times/day (≤ 2 weeks or episodic use only):
    • Naphazoline/pheniramine
    • Oxymetazoline Oxymetazoline A direct acting sympathomimetic used as a vasoconstrictor to relieve nasal congestion. Rosacea HCl HCL Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare, chronic, B-cell leukemia characterized by the accumulation of small mature B lymphocytes that have “hair-like projections” visible on microscopy. The abnormal cells accumulate in the peripheral blood, bone marrow (causing fibrosis), and red pulp of the spleen, leading to cytopenias. Hairy Cell Leukemia
    • Tetrahydrozoline HCl HCL Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare, chronic, B-cell leukemia characterized by the accumulation of small mature B lymphocytes that have “hair-like projections” visible on microscopy. The abnormal cells accumulate in the peripheral blood, bone marrow (causing fibrosis), and red pulp of the spleen, leading to cytopenias. Hairy Cell Leukemia 0.05%
    Antihistamines Antihistamines Antihistamines are drugs that target histamine receptors, particularly H1 and H2 receptors. H1 antagonists are competitive and reversible inhibitors of H1 receptors. First-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause sedation. Antihistamines (2nd-generation)
    Mast cell stabilizers Mast Cell Stabilizers Compounds that prevent the release of inflammatory mediators from mast cells. Asthma Drugs
    • Cromolyn Cromolyn Asthma Drugs sodium Sodium A member of the alkali group of metals. It has the atomic symbol na, atomic number 11, and atomic weight 23. Hyponatremia 4% 1–2 drops every 4–6 hours
    • Nedocromil Nedocromil A pyranoquinolone derivative that inhibits activation of inflammatory cells which are associated with asthma, including eosinophils; neutrophils; macrophages; mast cells; monocytes; and platelets. Asthma Drugs 2% 1–2 drops twice a day
    • Lodoxamide tromethamine 0.1% 1–2 drops 4 times/day
    Antihistamine with mast cell Mast cell Granulated cells that are found in almost all tissues, most abundantly in the skin and the gastrointestinal tract. Like the basophils, mast cells contain large amounts of histamine and heparin. Unlike basophils, mast cells normally remain in the tissues and do not circulate in the blood. Mast cells, derived from the bone marrow stem cells, are regulated by the stem cell factor. Angioedema stabilizing activity
    NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches
    • Ketorolac tromethamine 0.5% 1 drop 4 times/day
    NSAID: nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug

    Differential Diagnosis

    The following conditions enter into the differential diagnoses of conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is a common inflammation of the bulbar and/or palpebral conjunctiva. It can be classified into infectious (mostly viral) and noninfectious conjunctivitis, which includes allergic causes. Patients commonly present with red eyes, increased tearing, burning, foreign body sensation, and photophobia. Conjunctivitis:

    • Glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma: a condition caused by acutely or chronically increased intraocular pressure Intraocular Pressure The pressure of the fluids in the eye. Ophthalmic Exam or — since up to 40% of those affected do not have increased IOP — there may be heightened ganglion susceptibility to normal pressure, problems with the microcirculation or extracellular matrix Extracellular matrix A meshwork-like substance found within the extracellular space and in association with the basement membrane of the cell surface. It promotes cellular proliferation and provides a supporting structure to which cells or cell lysates in culture dishes adhere. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars in the optic nerve Optic nerve The 2nd cranial nerve which conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions. Treatment includes surgery plus topical beta-blockers Beta-blockers Drugs that bind to but do not activate beta-adrenergic receptors thereby blocking the actions of beta-adrenergic agonists. Adrenergic beta-antagonists are used for treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, glaucoma, migraine headaches, and anxiety. Class 2 Antiarrhythmic Drugs (Beta Blockers) and prostaglandins Prostaglandins A group of compounds derived from unsaturated 20-carbon fatty acids, primarily arachidonic acid, via the cyclooxygenase pathway. They are extremely potent mediators of a diverse group of physiological processes. Eicosanoids. If left untreated, both the common open-angle and the less common angle-closure glaucoma Angle-Closure Glaucoma Glaucoma can lead to blindness Blindness The inability to see or the loss or absence of perception of visual stimuli. This condition may be the result of eye diseases; optic nerve diseases; optic chiasm diseases; or brain diseases affecting the visual pathways or occipital lobe. Retinopathy of Prematurity.
    • Uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea: an ophthalmic emergency caused by the inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the uvea Uvea The pigmented vascular coat of the eyeball, consisting of the choroid; ciliary body; and iris, which are continuous with each other. Eye: Anatomy, which includes the iris and ciliary body Ciliary body A ring of tissue extending from the scleral spur to the ora serrata of the retina. It consists of the uveal portion and the epithelial portion. The ciliary muscle is in the uveal portion and the ciliary processes are in the epithelial portion. Eye: Anatomy, the choroid Choroid The thin, highly vascular membrane covering most of the posterior of the eye between the retina and sclera. Eye: Anatomy. The cause can be either infectious (mostly viral) or noninfectious. Common symptoms include burning of the eye, redness Redness Inflammation, blurry vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam, photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, floaters Floaters Chorioretinitis, and irregular pupils. Treatment includes topical or systemic steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors, antivirals, and topical atropine Atropine An alkaloid, originally from atropa belladonna, but found in other plants, mainly solanaceae. Hyoscyamine is the 3(s)-endo isomer of atropine. Anticholinergic Drugs.
    • Keratitis Keratitis Inflammation of the cornea. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2: a mostly infectious acute or chronic inflammation Chronic Inflammation Inflammation of the cornea Cornea The transparent anterior portion of the fibrous coat of the eye consisting of five layers: stratified squamous corneal epithelium; bowman membrane; corneal stroma; descemet membrane; and mesenchymal corneal endothelium. It serves as the first refracting medium of the eye. Eye: Anatomy. Other causes include allergy Allergy An abnormal adaptive immune response that may or may not involve antigen-specific IgE Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction and trauma. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship commonly present with a red, teary painful eye, impaired vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam, and photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache. Treatment depends on the underlying condition and includes topical antivirals, antibiotics, and antifungals.
    • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis (especially in infants): a potentially life-threatening inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the leptomeninges Leptomeninges Meninges: Anatomy, mostly due to viruses Viruses Minute infectious agents whose genomes are composed of DNA or RNA, but not both. They are characterized by a lack of independent metabolism and the inability to replicate outside living host cells. Virology or bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology. Common symptoms include headaches, fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever, a stiff neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess, altered mental status Altered Mental Status Sepsis in Children, photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, and phonophobia Phonophobia Specific Phobias. Young children often present with nonspecific symptoms. Treatment consists of antibiotics, antivirals, and corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis
    • Subconjunctival hemorrhage: This condition is usually asymptomatic. The clinical appearance, with demarcated areas of extravasated blood just beneath the surface of the eye, is generally both obvious and diagnostic. It may occur spontaneously or with Valsalva-associated mechanisms (e.g., coughing, sneezing Sneezing The sudden, forceful, involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth caused by irritation to the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. Rhinovirus, or vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia). The diagnosis is confirmed by normal acuity and the absence of discharge, photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, or foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration sensation. It typically resolves within 1 to 2 weeks.
    • Chalazion Chalazion A chalazion is one of the most common inflammatory lesions of the eyelid. It is caused by obstruction of the Meibomian or Zeis glands, leading to granulomatous inflammation and resulting in a firm, rubbery, slow-growing nodule that is typically non-tender. Chalazion: presents as painless localized eyelid swelling Swelling Inflammation and firm rubbery nodule Nodule Chalazion. It is caused by the obstruction of Zeis or Meibomian glands.
    • Dry eye syndrome: a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface with loss of tear film and ocular symptoms, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Rheumatoid Arthritis. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with dryness and redness Redness Inflammation of the eye, general irritation, gritty/burning sensation, foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration sensation, paradoxical excessive tearing, photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, or blurred vision Blurred Vision Retinal Detachment
    • Blepharitis Blepharitis Blepharitis is an ocular condition characterized by eyelid inflammation. Anterior blepharitis involves the eyelid skin and eyelashes, while the posterior type affects the meibomian glands. Often, these conditions overlap. Blepharitis: an inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the eyelid margin with eye irritation. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship usually present with red, swollen, or itchy eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis, a gritty burning sensation, conjunctival injection, crusting and matting of the eyelashes in the morning, photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache, and blurred vision Blurred Vision Retinal Detachment

    References

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    2. CDC. (2022). Conjunctivitis (pink eye) information for clinicians. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/clinical.html
    3. Varu, D. M., Rhee, M. K., Akpek, E. K., Amescua, G., Farid, M., Garcia-Ferrer, F. J., Lin, A., Musch, D. C., Mah, F. S., Dunn, S. P. (2019). Conjunctivitis Preferred Practice Pattern®. Ophthalmology, 126(1), P94–P169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.10.020
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    5. The College of Optometrists. (2022). Clinical management guidelines: conjunctivitis (bacterial). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/conjunctivitis_bacterial
    6. The College of Optometrists. (2022). Clinical management guidelines: conjunctivitis (seasonal & perennial allergic). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/seasonalallergicconjunctivitis_hayfeverconjunctivi
    7. Sambursky, R. (2022). Acute conjunctivitis. BMJ Best Practice. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/68
    8. National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. (2015). AdenoPlus point-of-care test for diagnosing adenoviral conjunctivitis. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.nice.org.uk/advice/mib46
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    10. The College of Optometrists. (2022). Clinical management guidelines: conjunctivitis (ophthalmia neonatorum). Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/ophthalmianeonatorum
    11. Weiner, G. (2013) Demystifying the ocular herpes simplex virus. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/demystifying-ocular-herpes-simplex-virus
    12. Cronau, H., Kankanala, R. R., Mauger, T. (2010). Diagnosis and management of red eye in primary care. American Family Physician, 81(2), 137–144. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2010/0115/p137.html
    13. Morrow, G. L., Abbott, R. L. (1998). Conjunctivitis. American Family Physician, 57(4), 735–746. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/1998/0215/p735.html
    14. Umfress, A. (2022). Allergic conjunctivitis. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://eyewiki.aao.org/Allergic_Conjunctivitis#Management
    15. Joseph, S. (2022) Herpes zoster ophthalmicus. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://eyewiki.aao.org/Herpes_Zoster_Ophthalmicus#Medical_therapy

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