Diphtheritic conjunctivitis is the infectious eye disease which used to occur previously as an epidemic in children. It can also be infected by sporadic means. Nowadays, Diphtheritic infection is caused mainly in children who are not immunized with the vaccination. It can also be seen in some immunized children, but is less severe. The diphtheritic conjunctivitis mostly occurs in children of age two to eight years. The infection period is 1-3 days.
The inflammatory symptoms can be primary symptoms in diphtheritic conjunctivitis. The yellow product that is gathered on the tissue of conjunctiva is the first symptom of diphtheritic conjunctivitis. The progress of diphtheritic conjunctivitis leads to pus formation. The fluid like secretion seen in conjunctivitis sac is thin and translucent at the start of diphtheritic infection which gradually becomes thick yellowish colored. It may be accompanied by redness in eyes and swelling of the eyelid. Symptoms also include photophobia with varying degrees of severity. The heat and pain are very intense from the start of the diphtheritic infection. The patient can also have fever and negligence of treatment can cause damage to the eye. The lymph nodes are swollen and may also lead to corneal ulceration, perforation of cornea and damage to the eye. The spread of infection from cornea can cause inflammation in nasal passage.
Diphtheritic infections are treated by the use of antibiotics such as Penicillin G, Erythromycin, Ampicillin, Clindamycin and Tetracyclin. Antibiotics treatment is combined with antitoxin treatment. These antitoxins are administered locally and systematically in early stages of conjunctivitis. Penicillin eye drops are administered in eyes with the interval of every half an hour. The eyes can be washed with mild astringent to avoid the spread of the infection.
The membranous diphtheritic conjunctivitis is caused by the bacterium gram positive diphtheria bacilli. The disease is caused in the area where diphtheria is endemic. It spreads from nares, mouth and throat. It can easily infect a healthy eye when it comes in contact with the infectious fluid secretion.
Diphtheritic conjunctivitis occurs in various forms such as membranous conjunctivitis; pseudomembranous, purulent and sometimes catarrhal .Diphtheritic catarrhal c. caused by gram positive Klebs-Loeffler bacillus is rare type of conjunctivitis observed in new born child. Croupous conjunctivitis form of diphtheritic conjunctivitis involves exudation on the surface of the conjunctiva. This conjunctivitis can be caused by excessive heat or infection by the pathogen.