65 Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Patients with bacterial conjunctivitis often present complaining of redness, tearing, pain, itching, vision loss, photophobia and discharge from one or both eyes.

It can be divided into

  • hyperacute,
  • acute (less than 3 to 4 weeks), and
  • chronic (greater than four weeks).

Children with bacterial conjunctivitis can have concurrent otitis media

Findings suggestive of Bacterial in origins are

  • Hx of gluey or sticky eyelids in the morning,
  • examination findings of mucoid or purulent discharge,
  • eyelids or eyelashes crusting or gluing on examination,
  • absence of burning sensation, and lack of watery discharge
presence of injected conjunctiva (redness), edema, pus
Viral conjunctivitis. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Referral to an ophthalmologist is indicated in cases of

  • vision loss,
  • non-response to treatment,
  • recurrent infections,
  • corneal involvement, and
  • severe pain or discharge


  1. Pippin MM, Le JK. Bacterial Conjunctivitis. [Updated 2022 Feb 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546683/