The examination of a severe case of conjunctivitis of unknown cause is not complete until conjunctival scrapings have been taken. A drop of local anaesthetic is placed in the conjunctival sac and the surface of the conjunctiva at the site of maximal inflammation is gently scraped with the blade of a sharp knife or a Kimura spatula. The material obtained is placed on a slide and stained with Gram's stain and Giemsa stain. The infecting organism can thus be revealed or the cell type in the exudate might indicate the underlying cause.

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