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Can Fam Physician. 2013 Nov;59(11):1187-90.

Treatment and prevention of ophthalmia neonatorum.

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BC Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Room K4-226, Ambulatory Care Bldg, 4480 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4.



In my office I occasionally see neonates with conjunctivitis. What are the current recommendations for ocular prophylaxis at birth? Do topical antibiotics alone provide adequate treatment of neonatal conjunctivitis? When is systemic therapy indicated?


All infants should receive ocular prophylaxis at birth to prevent gonococcal ophthalmia. Neonates presenting with signs of conjunctivitis should have a conjunctival swab sent for Gram stain and culture. If Gram-negative diplococci are present on the Gram stain results, the infants and their parents should be treated immediately for presumed gonorrhea. Infants with chlamydial infection should be treated with oral antibiotics. Most of all other forms of bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with topical antibiotics, with the exception of Pseudomonas infection. Infants should be followed during their treatment and upon completion of therapy to ensure resolution of symptoms. For cases in which sexually transmitted bacteria are implicated, the mothers and their sexual partners should be treated.

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