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Infection of conjunctiva
There are three things that commonly cause a conjunctivitis: bacteria, viruses or allergy.
- Red eye
- Itch and irritation - maybe described as painful but severe pain suggests something more severe.
Acuity, cornea, pupil and intraocular pressure should all be normal
Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common and the following are generally present in that condition:
- Previous history of bacterial conjunctivitis
- Mucopurulent discharge (glue eye) - sometimes in viral and allergic conjunctivitis you also get sticky eyes but the discharge with bacteria is sticky, purulent but scant. If it's really badly purulent, there's a change it is gonococcal or chlamydial in which case it needs to be seen by a specialist and swabbed
Viral conjunctivitis tends to present with a watery discharge, eyelid oedema, follicles (lymphoid collections on the conjunctiva), pre-auricular lymphadeopathy. The key with viral is to check if it's herpetic: unilateral, burning, foreign body sensation.
Generally - discontinue contact lens wear, be careful with hygeine and don't share towels.
- Basically, if it's bacterial give chloramphenicol (alternative is fusidic acid).
- Viral needs good hygeine and it should go away (antihistamines and steroids may help).
- And if it's allergic, avoid the allergen, avoid contact lenses, use lubricants and don't rub eyes.
If gonococcal, chlamydial or herpetic infection suspected.