Chlamydial Conjunctivitis

Chlamydial conjunctivitis is not rare. Consider it when you see conjunctivitis lasting more than 2 weeks especially in at risk groups, and send swabs.

In the UK it is a sexually transmitted, systemic infection. It requires systemic antibiotics (usually azithromycin), contact tracing and screening for other sexually transmitted diseases. Referral to GenitoUrinary Medicine (GUM) clinic is routine.

Worldwide trachoma (a different subtype of chlamydia) is the commonest cause of infectious blindness affecting millions. It causes conjunctival scarring, which in turn causes corneal scarring by inturning of the eyelashes. Tragically, prevention is as simple as clean water and good hygeine.

Who should have conjunctival chlamydia swabs sent?

  • All patients with conjunctivitis more than 5 days duration
  • All patients with conjunctivitis more than 10 days duration
  • All patients with conjunctivitis more than 4 weeks duration
  • All patients with conjunctivitis more than 3 months duration

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