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Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the surface lining (conjunctiva) of the eye.


Conjunctivitis may be classified into:[1]

  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial
  • Conjunctivitis, Viral
  • Keratoconjunctivitis
  • Reiter Syndrome


Acute conjunctivitis may be caused by bacteria in half of cases with the most common bacteria being Haemophilus influenzae (19%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (11%), and Staphylococcus aureus (8%).[2]

Common viral causes include herpes virus and adenovirus.[3] In a small study, half of the patients with herpes virus did not have corneal ulcers or lid lesions typical of herpes virus.[3]


A bacterial cause of acute conjunctivitis is more likely if there is early morning glued eye(s) and the lack of itching.[4]


Delayed antibiotics, in which the patient is given about the course of conjunctivitis and a prescription to fill at their discretion over the next one to three days, may be the most appropriate strategy in primary care.[5][2]


  1. National Library of Medicine. Conjunctivitis. Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Everitt HA, Little PS, Smith PW (2006). "A randomised controlled trial of management strategies for acute infective conjunctivitis in general practice". BMJ 333 (7563): 321. DOI:10.1136/bmj.38891.551088.7C. PMID 16847013. Research Blogging.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wishart PK, James C, Wishart MS, Darougar S (1984). "Prevalence of acute conjunctivitis caused by chlamydia, adenovirus, and herpes simplex virus in an ophthalmic casualty department". The British journal of ophthalmology 68 (9): 653–5. PMID 6087876[e]
  4. Rietveld RP, ter Riet G, Bindels PJ, Sloos JH, van Weert HC (2004). "Predicting bacterial cause in infectious conjunctivitis: cohort study on informativeness of combinations of signs and symptoms". BMJ 329 (7459): 206–10. DOI:10.1136/bmj.38128.631319.AE. PMID 15201195. Research Blogging.
  5. Epling J, Smucny J (2005). "Bacterial conjunctivitis". Clinical evidence (14): 756–61. PMID 16620434[e]