Viral Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) Guidelines

Updated: Feb 15, 2023
  • Author: Ingrid U Scott, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Guidelines Summary

Recommendations for urgent and nonurgent patient care in ophthalmology were published in 2020 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). [12, 13]

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, all ophthalmologists should immediately cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care.

Several reports suggest COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva.

Patients with conjunctivitis frequently present to eye clinics or emergency departments; therefore, ophthalmologists may be the first clinicians to examine patients who could have COVID-19.

Prior to examination, ophthalmologists should ask patients if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms and if they or their family members have traveled recently.

Ophthalmologists must take necessary safety precautions while caring for patients who may have COVID-19. This includes wearing protection for the mouth, nose, and eyes; using slit-lamp barriers or breath shields; and continuing to use the same disinfection practices already used to prevent office-based spread of viral pathogens.

Ophthalmologists should use disposable tonometer tips when checking intraocular pressure, as the virus has been found in the tears of some patients with conjunctivitis.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has no opinion on the systemic safety or efficacy of COVID-19 treatments currently under investigation.