Bacterial Conjunctivitis

September 8, 2005

For 2 days, a 4-year-old girl had complained of discomfort and a yellow discharge from the left eye. The left conjunctiva was hyperemic, but there was no preauricular lymphadenopathy.

For 2 days, a 4-year-old girl had complained of discomfort and a yellow discharge from the left eye. The left conjunctiva was hyperemic, but there was no preauricular lymphadenopathy. A swab from the left eye grew Haemophilus influenzae. The child was treated with topical chloramphenicol 0.5% eyedrops and had an uneventful recovery.

Bacterial conjunctivitis in children is characterized by conjunctival hyperemia, mucopurulent discharge, and various degrees of ocular discomfort. Unlike viral conjunctivitis, the bacterial form is characterized by an absence of preauricular lymphadenopathy (except in the case of gonococcal conjunctivitis). The onset is usually acute; involvement may be unilateral or bilateral. H influenzae is the most commonly isolated organism. Others include pneumococci, staphylococci, streptococci, and Moraxella catarrhalis.