Which cultures may be completed in the diagnosis 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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Cultures can be completed for chlamydial and other bacterial organisms, as well as for viral agents. Fungal culture would be unusual except in the setting of a corneal ulcer, a vegetative or gardening injury, or in the case of known contamination of a contact lens solution. The cellular response in conjunctivitis differs according to the cause, as follows:

  • Bacterial infections: Neutrophils predominate
  • Viral infections: Lymphocytes predominate
  • Allergic reactions: Eosinophils predominate

See Workup for more detail.

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