Acute viral conjunctivitis is common. Several of the adenoviruses can cause it. Usually, the eye
symptoms follow an upper respiratory tract infection and, although nearly always bilateral, one eye might be infected before the other. The affected eye becomes red and discharges; characteristically, the eyelids become thickened and the upper lid can droop. The ophthalmologist's finger should feel for the tell-tale tender enlarged preauricular lymph node. In some cases, the cornea becomes involved and subep-ithelial corneal opacities can appear and persist for several months (Figure 6.4). If such opacities are situated in the line of sight, the vision can be impaired. There is no known effective treatment but it is usual to treat with an antibiotic drop to prevent secondary infection.
From time to time, epidemics of viral conjunctivitis occur and it is well recognised that spread can result from the use of improperly sterilised ophthalmic instruments or even contaminated solutions of eye drops, and poor hand-washing techniques.
Was this article helpful?