When is inpatient care indicated for 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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Inpatient care for bacterial conjunctivitis is highly unusual and would be provided only if hospitalization is indicated for other reasons or if antibiotic treatment is required every 15 minutes around the clock (severe cases). It is important to realize that, in the inpatient setting, the differential diagnoses must be carefully considered through internal medicine consultation since these patients tend to be ill. Therefore, it is more common to see a red eye due to endogenous endophthalmitis, hyperacute gonorrheal conjunctivitis, orbital cellulitis, or a perforated corneal ulcer in this population.

Serious consideration should be given to admitting patients with hyperacute bacterial conjunctivitis if the entire cornea cannot be visualized, as there may be an early peripheral corneal ulceration threatening perforation, especially in Neisseria infections. [18] Topical antibiotic, proper hygiene, and isolation are considerations for these patients.

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