Chlamydial conjunctivitis treatment azithromycin tablets

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is the term given to inflammation of the conjunctiva – the mucous membrane covering the white of the eyes and the inner side of the eyelids.

Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition, which is usually not serious, but can be uncomfortable and irritating.

Conjunctivitis commonly affects both eyes at the same time – although it may start in one eye and spread to the other after a day or two. It can be asymmetrical, affecting one eye more than the other.


Conjunctivitis can be caused by a variety of factors.

Treatment of it depends on the cause.

What causes conjunctivitis?

There are five different kinds of conjunctivitis, each with their own cause, symptoms and trearment.

Bacterial conjunctivitis


Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococci, Streptococci or Haemophilus. These organisms may come from the patient's own skin, upper respiratory tract or caught from another person with conjunctivitis.



Bacterial conjunctivitis affects both eyes. The eyes will usually feel gritty and irritated with a sticky discharge.

The eyelids may be stuck together, particularly in the mornings, and there may be discharge or crusting on the eyelashes.


This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with broad-spectrum antibiotic drops or ointment, eg chloramphenicol or fusidic acid.

The eyes should also be cleaned with cotton wool soaked in cooled boiled water to remove any crusts or stickiness.

Evidence shows that while 64 per cent of bacterial conjunctivitis cases will clear on their own within five days, antibiotic eye medication does lead to increased success rates and earlier remission.

conjunctivitis does not usually affect a person's vision.

Viral conjunctivitis


Viral conjunctivitis can be caused by adenovirus and is often associated with the common cold.

This type of conjunctivitis can spread rapidly between people and may cause an epidemic.

People often feel unwell and 'under the weather' when they have viral conjunctivitis.


Viral conjunctivitis is characterised by red eyes and a watery discharge.

The eyelids and even the conjunctiva on the white of the eye may swell, creating a glassy appearance.

The eyes are uncomfortable, with patients usually describing a sensation of 'something in the eye'.

There may also be the generalised symptoms of a cold, including tender lymph nodes (swollen glands) around the ear or the neck.

This type of conjunctivitis may also spread to the cornea (keratitis) to cause hazy vision. It can persist for several weeks.


conjunctivitis cannot be cured, but the symptoms can treated to improve comfort.


lubricant ointment, such as Carbomer can be used to make the eyes more

Cold compresses on the eyes and tablets, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can also help ease symptoms.

As viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious condition, it's important to ensure that a strict code of hygiene is adhered to, such as regular hand and face washing, and no sharing of face towels.

Close contact with other people, eg at school, is not recommended for the first one to two weeks to help prevent spread of the infection.

This condition may persist for a prolonged time and in some instances corticosteroid drops have been advocated, although these should only be given under the strict supervision of a doctor specialising in eye disease (such as an ophthalmologist).

Chlamydial conjunctivitis


This type of conjunctivitis is caused by an organism called Chlamydia trachomatis.

This organism may also affect other parts of the body and can cause the sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia.


conjunctivitis causes one or both eyes to be red with a sticky discharge and,
sometimes, swollen eyelids.


conjunctivitis is treated with antibiotic tablets to ensure that infection is
eliminated, including any possible infection of the genitourinary tract.

are usually prescribed tetracycline or macrolide antibiotics. Children cannot
be treated with tetracycline tablets, so macrolides (eg azithromycin) is
usually used for them.

of the possible infection of other body sites, any sexually transmitted
infections should be identified and both the patient and their partners must be

Allergic conjunctivitis


Allergic conjunctivitis is common in people who have other types of allergic disease, such as hay fever, asthma and eczema. Allergic conjunctivitis is often caused by antigens like pollen, dust mites or cosmetics.


Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include intense itching of the eyes, intermittent red eyes and stringy discharge.

These symptoms may occur at particular times of the year, such as spring and summer, when there is a lot of pollen in the air. Some people unfortunately can get allergic conjunctivitis all year round.


Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated using antihistamine drops, such as sodium cromoglicate to prevent the body mounting an allergic response. These drops need to be used for weeks to give any result.



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