Learn About Neonatal Conjunctivitis

What is the definition of Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is swelling or infection of the membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white part of the eye.

Conjunctivitis may occur in a newborn child.

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What are the alternative names for Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Newborn conjunctivitis; Conjunctivitis of the newborn; Ophthalmia neonatorum; Eye infection - neonatal conjunctivitis

What are the causes of Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Swollen or inflamed eyes are most commonly caused by:

  • A blocked tear duct
  • Eye drops with antibiotics, given right after birth
  • Infection by bacteria or viruses

Bacteria that normally live in a woman's vagina may be passed to the baby during childbirth. More serious eye damage may be caused by:

  • Gonorrhea and chlamydia: These are infections spread from sexual contact.
  • The viruses that cause genital and oral herpes: These may lead to severe eye damage. Herpes eye infections are less common than those caused by gonorrhea and chlamydia.

The mother may not have symptoms at the time of delivery. She still may carry bacteria or viruses that can cause this problem.

What are the symptoms of Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Infected newborn infants develop drainage from the eyes within 1 day to 2 weeks after birth.

The eyelids become puffy, red, and tender.

There may be watery, bloody, or thick pus-like drainage from the infant's eyes.

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What are the current treatments for Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Eye swelling that is caused by the eye drops given at birth should go away on its own.

For a blocked tear duct, gentle warm massage between the eye and nasal area may help. This is most often tried before starting antibiotics. Surgery may be needed if a blocked tear duct has not cleared up by the time the baby is 1 year old.

Antibiotics are often needed for eye infections caused by bacteria. Eye drops and ointments may also be used. Salt water eye drops may be used to remove sticky yellow drainage.

Special antiviral eye drops or ointments are used for herpes infections of the eye.

Who are the top Neonatal Conjunctivitis Local Doctors?
Distinguished
Highly rated in
9
conditions

London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine

Clinical Research Department 
London, ENG, GB 

Robin Bailey is in London, United Kingdom. Bailey is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Neonatal Conjunctivitis. They are also highly rated in 9 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Chlamydia, Conjunctivitis, Trachoma, and Neonatal Conjunctivitis.

Distinguished
Highly rated in
11
conditions

The Carter Center

Addis Ababa, AA, ET 

Zerihun Tadesse is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tadesse is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Neonatal Conjunctivitis. They are also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Conjunctivitis, Trachoma, Chlamydia, and Onchocerciasis.

 
 
 
 
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Distinguished
Highly rated in
6
conditions

London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine

Clinical Research Department 
London, ENG, GB 

Emma Esch-Harding is in London, United Kingdom. Esch-Harding is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Neonatal Conjunctivitis. She is also highly rated in 6 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Trachoma, Conjunctivitis, Chlamydia, and Neonatal Conjunctivitis.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Quick diagnosis and treatment often leads to good outcomes.

What are the possible complications of Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Complications may include:

  • Blindness
  • Inflammation of the iris
  • Scar or hole in the cornea -- the clear structure that is over the colored part of the eye (the iris)
When should I contact a medical professional for Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Talk to your provider if you have given birth (or expect to give birth) in a place where antibiotic or silver nitrate drops are not routinely placed in the infant's eyes. An example would be having an unsupervised birth at home. This is very important if you have or are at risk for any sexually transmitted disease.

How do I prevent Neonatal Conjunctivitis?

Pregnant women should get treatment for diseases spread through sexual contact to prevent newborn conjunctivitis caused by these infections.

Putting eye drops into all infants' eyes in the delivery room right after birth can help prevent many infections. (Most states have laws requiring this treatment.)

When a mother has active herpes sores at the time of delivery, a Cesarean section (C-section) is recommended to prevent serious illness in the baby.

What are the latest Neonatal Conjunctivitis Clinical Trials?
Evaluation of the Impact on Childhood Mortality of Azithromycin Plus Intermittent Preventive Treatment Administered Through the Expanded Program on Immunization in Sierra Leone
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What are the Latest Advances for Neonatal Conjunctivitis?
PERINATAL INFECTIONS IN UKRAINE: RESULTS OF A MULTICENTER STUDY.
Culture Positive Cases of Ophthalmia Neonatorum in a Tertiary Care Centre of Nepal: A Descriptive Cross-sectional Study.
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Fatal Neonatal Sepsis Associated with Human Adenovirus Type 56 Infection: Genomic Analysis of Three Recent Cases Detected in the United States.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: December 10, 2021
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Olitsky SE, Marsh JD. Disorders of the conjunctiva. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 644.

Orge FH. Examination and common problems in the neonatal eye. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 95.

Rubenstein JB, Spektor T. Conjunctivitis: infectious and noninfectious. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.6.