Acute conjunctivitis: Truth and misconceptions

Terrence P. O'Brien, Bennie H. Jeng, Marguerite McDonald, Michael B. Raizman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objective: Acute conjunctivitis is an extremely common condition and can be associated with significant morbidity and economic burden. Despite this, considerable controversy exists pertaining to the prevalence, diagnosis, management, and treatment of the condition. A panel of ophthalmology experts was assembled to review and discuss the current evidence based literature as it pertains to each of these persistent controversies. Methods and scope: An acute conjunctivitis round table symposium was convened at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in Atlanta, November 2008. The expert panelists consisted of four academic ophthalmologists in the field of cornea and external disease, whose discussion was informed by an English language literature survey carried out on the PubMed database for the period of January 1972 to October 2008. A narrative summary was generated from the literature review and direct transcription of this event, from which this Review article was developed. Findings and conclusions: Considerable light has been shed on acute microbial conjunctivitis and especially those cases caused by adenovirus. Many of the myths that have perpetuated for years have been debunked by emerging evidence. The advent and the implementation of better diagnostic tools and anti-viral medications will help clinicians to improve their diagnostic accuracy, improve management and treatment decisions, and ultimately benefit patients while saving overall healthcare costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1953-1961
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Acute conjunctivitis
  • Adenovirus
  • Viral conjunctivitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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