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Key Features

  • In general, bacterial conjunctivitis is accompanied by a purulent discharge

  • Common bacterial causes of conjunctivitis in older children include

    • Haemophilus species

    • Streptococcus pneumoniae

    • Moraxella catarrhalis

    • Staphylococcus aureus

Clinical Findings

  • Purulent discharge and conjunctival injection may be associated with an upper respiratory infection

  • Regional lymphadenopathy is not a common finding in bacterial conjunctivitis except in cases of oculoglandular syndrome due to

    • S aureus

    • Group A β-hemolytic streptococci

    • Mycobacterium tuberculosis or atypical mycobacteria

    • Francisella tularensis (the agent of tularemia)

    • Bartonella henselae (the agent of cat-scratch disease)


  • Usually self-limited


  • Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, polymyxin-bacitracin, sulfacetamide, tobramycin, and fluoroquinolones are adequate if bacterial conjunctivitis is not associated with systemic illness

  • Systemic therapy is recommended for conjunctivitis associated with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Neisseria meningitidis

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