This page was printed from the Northern & Eastern Devon Formulary and Referral site at
Please ensure you are using the current version of this document
Most infections are viral and/or self-limiting and do not require antibiotics.
Chloramphenicol is cheap to buy and is readily available for certain patients, along with advice, from pharmacies. Please click
here for further information and a patient leaflet
Bacterial conjunctivitis is self-limiting and will normally settle in 5-10 days, it is characterised by red eye with mucopurulent, not watery, discharge. Therefore, avoidance of drug treatment is an option if a patient wishes, for example during pregnancy
Public Health England advises that exclusion of single cases from school / nursery is not generally necessary, but may be required if an outbreak occurs.
Chlamydia conjunctivitis in neonates: oral erythromycin 12.5mg/kg every 6 hours. Additional drops are unnecessary.
Neonates with severe conjunctivitis should be referred urgently to secondary care.
If treatment with chloramphenicol fails take swabs and consider viral cause or incorrect administration. Fusidic acid has a narrow spectrum of activity and should not be used in cases of chloramphenicol failure or for reasons of convenience. Fusidic acid drops may be used in patients with chloramphenicol intolerance.