Examination of the eye reveals inflammation, that is, dilatation of the conjunctival capillaries and larger blood vessels, associated with more or less discharge from the eye. The exact site of the inflammation should be noted and it is especially useful to note whether the deeper capillaries around the margin of the cornea are involved. The resulting pink flush encircling the cornea is called "ciliary injection" and is a warning of corneal or intraocular inflammation. For clinical purposes, it is useful to divide conjunctivitis into acute and chronic types.

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