Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis

Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is an uncommon type of conjunctivitis which is highly transmittable and defined by abrupt onset of the symptoms. The 2 main viruses responsible for the condition include coxsackievirus and enterovirus.

The conjunctivitis which is the membrane covering the white part of the eye is inflamed. It can affect one or both eyes along with irritation, inflammation and watery drainage. The symptoms might last for 7 days but might clear on their own.

What are the signs?

The start of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is generally abrupt and develops rapidly. It can manifest 12-48 hours after being infected.

The usual indications include the following:


Itchiness and redness of the eyes that might start in one eye and steadily progress to the other.

  • Itchiness and redness of the eyes that might start in one eye and steadily progress to the other.
  • The conjunctiva is covered with drainage from the blood vessels.
  • Formation of crusts along with sticky eyelids that are difficult to keep open.
  • Intense eye pain with inflamed eyelids and gritty sensation within the eye.
  • Continuous drainage of watery mucous from the eyes
  • Mild fever among infants
  • Blurry vision and light sensitivity

In most cases, the symptoms eventually settle in 5-7 days. The condition fully resolves in 2 weeks.

Management of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis

The treatment for acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is generally supportive in nature. The symptomatic treatment aims on providing comfort to the individual.

Some of the general measures include the following:

  • Apply a warm compress to reduce the discomfort
  • Clean the crusts on the eyes using a moist wool cloth and water
  • Lubricating drops can be used to soothe the eyes and beneficial if the eyes are dry.
  • Topical corticosteroids are given if the cornea and iris are affected
  • A topical antibiotic ointment is suggested to lower the risk for bacterial infections
  • Avoid using contact lens but use eye glasses instead.
  • In case the symptoms involve the entire body, systemic management is started.
  • Follow-up care is vital to prevent any complications from arising.


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