Self care: bath/clean eyelids with cotton wool dipped in sterile saline or boiled and cooled water to remove crusting.

Treat if severe, as most viral or self-limiting. Consider a delayed prescription to commence treatment after 3 days if symptoms have not improved.  Contact lenses should not be worn until infective symptoms resolve.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting; it is characterised by red eye with mucopurulent, not watery, discharge; 65% resolve on placebo by day five, 74% resolve by day 7. 

Drug details

If severe

Chloramphenicol 0.5% drop 2 hourly for 2 days then 4 hourly (whilst awake)
PLUS 1% ointment at night

For 48 hours after resolution

Second line

Fusidic acid 1% gel. Apply twice daily.

For 48 hours after resolution

Last reviewed: 23/02/2023

Next review date: 28/02/2026

Author(s): Antimicrobial Management Team.

Approved By: TAM subgroup of ADTC

Reviewer name(s): Area Antimicrobial Pharmacist.

Document Id: AMT111