Eye Care Archive Expert Forum
Pink Eye - Bacterial Conjunctivitis
About This Forum:

Our Ask-A-Doctor Eye Care Forum is where you can post your question and receive a personal answer from physicians affiliated with the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Font Size:
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Pink Eye - Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Does Bacterial Conjuctivitis (Pink Eye) occur in any particular season more often.  If so, what are the most common months?

How can you tell the difference between viral and bacterial without a culture?

Thanks for your help!
Related Discussions
bacterial conjunctivitis does not really have a season, although i have found its a little more common in winter months when people (especially children) are inside in close proximity.

viral conjunctivitis usually has a specific appearance on slit lamp examination (high magnification) that most eye doctors can distinguish most of the time.  it would be difficult to tell w/o that type of exam.

but w/o high magnification, a person can make some estimated guesses:

if it has white or green discharge, it is probably bacterial.  if it has yellow or clear discharge, it is probably viral.

if it is watery, mildly painful and light sensitive, it is probably viral.

if it is sticky & gross it is probably bacterial.

if it starts in one eye, then a few days later it starts in the other eye it is probably viral.

if it starts in both eyes at the same time it is probably bacterial.  (if only one eye is affected, its inconclusive)

again, these are just guidelines to help someone figure it out.  you really cant make a diagnosis w/o full history and slit lamp examination.  a warning: many very bad things (like corneal ulcer and iritis, etc) LOOK like "conjunctivitis" at the beginning.  if the person in question is a CONTACT LENS WEARER, it is probably not viral or bacterial conjunctivitis at all...it would most likely be contact lens related infection or inflammation, which would be MORE SERIOUS and require faster intervention than either viral or bacterial conjunctivitis.

A related discussion, Infective conjunctivitis was started.
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
TMJ/TMJ The Connection Between Teet...
Jan 27 by Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGDBlank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank