Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: George Plechaty, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
Updated: Mar 20, 2015

Diagnostic Considerations

While the general ophthalmologist most often encounters acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC), one must be aware that it is caused by members of a group of viruses causing a wide variety of conditions. Enteroviruses most often cause a benign fever. However, they also can bring about manifestations of neurologic, cardiac, respiratory, and dermatologic diseases. An unusual course should elicit greater than usual attention.

Ophthalmic manifestations of ebolavirus infection have been reported in the recent epidemic. These include conjunctival injection, subconjunctival hemorrhage, and increased lacrimation. Ophthalmic providers need to be aware of this when treating patients with fever and generalized weakness who may have been in contact with infected persons.[12]

In rare cases, consultation could be indicated with a pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist.

See the following for more information:

Differential Diagnoses

Contributor Information and Disclosures

George Plechaty, MD Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Ophthalmology, University of Hawaii, John A Burns School of Medicine

George Plechaty, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Simon K Law, MD, PharmD Clinical Professor of Health Sciences, Department of Ophthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Simon K Law, MD, PharmD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, American Glaucoma Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Christopher J Rapuano, MD Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University; Director of the Cornea Service, Co-Director of Refractive Surgery Department, Wills Eye Hospital

Christopher J Rapuano, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Ophthalmological Society, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, International Society of Refractive Surgery, Cornea Society, Eye Bank Association of America

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Cornea Society, Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Bio-Tissue, Shire, TearScience, TearLab<br/>Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Bio-Tissue, TearScience.

Chief Editor

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Fernando H Murillo-Lopez, MD Senior Surgeon, Unidad Privada de Oftalmologia CEMES

Fernando H Murillo-Lopez, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Ryan I Huffman, MD, with the literature review and referencing for this article.

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Secondary corneal ulcer in a case of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis treated with steroids.
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