Conjunctivitis as seen in Ile-Ife

  • BO Adegbehingbe Ophthalmology Unit, Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • AO Onipede Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Keywords: conjunctivitis, acute, aetiology and treatment


Objective: To survey the clinical pattern of conjunctivitis with the aim of identifying the etiologic agents of bacterial conjunctivitis and their antimicrobial sensitivity pattern.

Method: Patients with clinical features of conjunctivitis form the cohort of this study. A retrospective study of 3,872 patients seen at the eye clinic of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife, between January 1997 and December 2000 was undertaken. Of these, 689 patients (17.8%) had conjunctivitis. Those diagnosed as having infective conjunctivitis had conjunctival swabs taken for microscopy, culture and sensitivity tests, and were investigated by standard microbiological methods.

Results: Out of a total of 3,872 new patients seen over a 3-year period, 689 (17.8%) presented with conjunctivitis. Of these, allergic conjunctivitis was the most common type, seen in 580 patients (84.2%), followed by acute bacterial conjunctivitis in 98 patients (14.2%), while conjunctivitis secondary to physical trauma and toxic etiologies were seen in 8 (1.2%) and 3 (0.4%) patients respectively. Thirty-three patients (33.6%) with infective (acute bacterial) conjunctivitis had laboratory confirmed positive culture results. Thirteen patients (13.3%) developed complications such as corneal ulceration 9(9.2%) and perforation 4 (4.1%) before they presented at the hospital. Most of the bacterial isolates were sensitive to third generation cephalosporin, especially ciprofloxacin (89.8%-97.8% sensitivity).

Conclusion: Conjunctivitis due to allergy and infective causes is a major cause of ocular morbidity. The high sensitivity of the isolates to ciprofloxacin (89.8-97.8%), chloramphenicol (68.9%), and gentamicin (84.9%), supports the appropriateness of using these drugs as first line drugs in the management of bacterial conjunctivitis. Corneal ulceration (9.2%) and perforation (4.1%) are major causes of ocular morbidity and blindness (6.1%), among patients with conjunctivitis as seen in Ile-Ife. There is a need for public eye health education and early referral of all cases of eye infections to an eye specialist to prevent blinding complications.

Keywords: conjunctivitis, acute, aetiology and treatment

Nigerian Journal of Ophthalmology Vol. 13 (1) 2005: 21-26

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2468-8363
print ISSN: 0189-9171