|Birth||Postnatal||Childhood Illness||Glossary A-Z|
Neonatal conjunctivitis, also known as conjunctivitis
of the newborn , newborn conjunctivitis
and ophthalmia neonatorum , is an eye infection
of the newborn acquired during the passage through the birth canal. The
most common birth-related bacterial infections with the potential to cause
eye damage are gonorrhoea
(Neisseria gonorrhoea) and Chlamydia
(Chlamydia trachomatis) as well as the herpes virus ,
however the incidence of herpes conjunctivitis is less than the others.
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hemophilus influenzae may also cause neonatal
Because of the significance of neonatal conjunctivitis, all hospitals routinely use silver nitrate or antibiotic drops in the newborn's eyes to prevent disease. Silver nitrate is no longer commonly used and has been mostly replaced by antibiotic eye drops.
Symptoms and Signs
The mother may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) at the time of delivery yet still harbour bacteria or a virus capable of causing conjunctivitis in her newborn infant. Symptoms and Signs in the infant include:
Diagnosis and Treatment
The main diagnostic techniques used include a standard ophthalmologic
examination ; a slit lamp examination
to look for corneal ulceration, perforation, or other changes (called
iridocyclitis and inclusion blennorrhea) and a culture of the drainage
from the eye to look for N. gonorrhoea and C. trachomatis.
Infants who develop conjunctivitis and are quickly treated generally have good outcomes.
See also the page on conjunctivitis in children .
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
|http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/neonatal_problems/conjunctivitis.html||Last modified: Jun 25 2002|