II. Epidemiology

  1. Transmission typically via direct contact with contaminated items (esp. fingers)
  2. Infectious for first 48 hours of treatment

IV. Symptoms

  1. Sudden onset
    1. Unilateral
    2. Progresses to other eye in 2-5 days
  2. Mucopurulent discharge
    1. Copious gray, yellow, or green discharge
    2. Consider Gonococcal Conjunctivitis (excessive pus)
  3. Matting of lashes and Eyelids in morning
  4. Significant irritation with stinging Sensation or foreign body Sensation
  5. Eyelid may appear puffy

V. Signs

  1. Variable Conjunctival injection
    1. Palpebral Conjunctiva is more affected than bulbar
  2. Lid edema
  3. No preauricular adenopathy
  4. No Corneal involvement
  5. Eyelid Edema
  6. Intact Visual Acuity

VI. Diagnosis

  1. Predictors of Bacterial Infection
    1. Copious Eye Discharge
    2. Eyes glued shut in morning
      1. Especially if both eyes glued shut (Odds Ratio: 15)
  2. Predictors of Viral Infection
    1. Itching eyes (if moderate to severe, likely Allergic Conjunctivitis)
    2. Prior episodes of Conjunctivitis
  3. Efficacy
    1. Eyes itch and not glued shut: 4% Bacterial
    2. Glued shut, no itch, no prior history: 77% Bacterial
  4. References
    1. Rietveld (2004) BMJ 329:206-10 [PubMed]

VII. Complications

  1. Deeper eye involvement may occur in severe cases
  2. Blepharitis ("Granulated Eyelids")
    1. Seen in chronic Bacterial Conjunctivitis
    2. Colonization of lid margins by Staphylococcus aureus
  3. External Hordeolum (stye)

VIII. Course: Self-Limited

  1. Resolves in 2 weeks without treatment (65% improve within 2-5 days)
  2. Clears in 48-72 hours with treatment
  3. Serious complications are rare

IX. Lab: Eye Culture Indications

  1. Severe cases
  2. Immune compromised state
  3. Contact Lens use
  4. Newborns
  5. Failed initial treatment

X. Management

  1. Conditions requiring urgent ophthalmology referral
    1. Gonococcal Conjunctivitis
    2. Chronic or recurrent Conjunctivitis
    3. Conjunctivitis not improving after 7 days of treatment
  2. Protocol
    1. Consider observing without antibiotic therapy if no risk factors and have good follow-up
    2. Factors suggesting starting immediate antibiotics
      1. Healthcare workers (can not return to work until discharge ceases)
      2. Patients residing in health care facility or hospital
      3. Children attending daycare or school who cannot return until treatment started
      4. Immune compromised patient
      5. Uncontrolled Diabetes Mellitus
      6. Contact Lens use
      7. Dry Eyes
      8. Recent ophthalmic surgery
  3. Preparations
    1. See Topical Eye Antibiotic
    2. Course
      1. Typically 7 days has been used
      2. Short duration of 3-5 days is probably sufficient
    3. General Approach with First Line Agents (for low risk patients and infections)
      1. Daytime Agents
        1. Trimethoprim-Polymyxin B (Polytrim) solution 2 drops four times daily
        2. Avoid Sulfacetamide (low efficacy)
        3. Avoid Neomycin (Allergic Reaction is common in more than 25% after only 3 days of use)
      2. Nighttime agent (consider as soothing overnight management)
        1. Erythromycin 0.5% ointment nightly
    4. Broad Spectrum antibiotics for serious or refractory Bacterial Conjunctivitis
      1. Gentamicin (Gentak) 0.3% ointment or solution
      2. Tobramycin (Tobrex) 0.3% solution (ointment is not generic and is expensive)
      3. Ciprofloxacin (Ciloxan) 0.3% ointment or solution
      4. Ofloxacin (Ocuflox) 0.3% solution
    5. Direct treatment if specific Bacterial eye infection suspected
      1. Chlamydia Conjunctivitis
      2. Gonorrhea Conjunctivitis

XI. Resources (Include Patient Education)

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