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  Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection of they eye caused by bacteria, some of which are haemophilus, Chlamydia, streptococci, or staphylococci. The conjunctiva is the lining of the whites of the eyes and the eyelids. Conjunctivitis is also called pink eye in the United States and madras eye in India.

Bacterial conjunctivitis Eye diseases
Bacterial conjunctivitis


Bacterial conjunctivitis can present with symptoms in one or both eyes. Commonly, this begins with an itchy, grittiness that develops into irritation and redness with weeping or oozing. The discharge is more noticeable in the morning, sometimes called glue eye, since the lashes are stuck together.

Here are the typical symptoms for bacterial conjunctivitis:

• Eyes are red or pink
• Eyelids stick together with discharge particularly after sleeping
• Itchy eyes
• Watering or tearing of eyes
• White-yellow or cream color thick sticky ooze
• Pain, slight or intense
• Bleeding or hemorrhage can be seen as burst of tiny blood vessels
• Swelling of conjunctiva can occur
• Photosensitivity


Bacterial conjunctivitis is diagnoses by a culture if the infection is severe or persistent. Usually bacterial conjunctivitis begins in one eye or is more prominent in one eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis is rare in the United States. If the disease is severe, an ophthalmologist will examine the eyes using a slit lamp. A slit lamp is a special lamp that allows for careful examination of the eyes.

In some cases, an ophthalmologist will culture the discharge from the eye to determine which bacteria are causing the infection. A culture can take 48 to 72 hours to determine the bacteria.


Erythromycin drops are usually prescribed to treat the eyes. In children a different antibiotic needs to be used since erythromycin can cause growth problems and teeth discoloration.

A serious bacterial conjunctivitis that is common in third world countries is called trachoma. Trachoma is caused by Chlamydia which also causes a venereal disease. If a patient is positive for trachoma, then any sexual partners would have to be treated as well. Trachoma can lead to blindness if left untreated. The eyelashes become irritated and turn inward. The continuous scratching of the corneas will cause blindness. Antibiotics will cure trachoma just like other bacterial conjunctivitis cases.

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