Which cultures are needed in the evaluation of bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye)?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: Karen K Yeung, OD, FAAO; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Cultures can be completed for viral, chlamydial and bacterial agents. If testing for N gonorrhoeae, specific procedures should be followed to optimize the yield. The anesthetic agent should be preservative-free, in order to limit false-negative culture results (Tetracaine, Alcon).Fungal culture is usually unnecessary, except in the setting of a corneal ulcer or in the case of known contamination of a specific contact lens solution, such as occurred in the contamination epidemic of early 2006. [22]

Additionally, the nature of the inflammatory reaction is reflected in the cellular response. Lymphocytes predominate in viral infections, neutrophils in bacterial infections and eosinophils in allergic reactions.

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