Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis Treatment & Management

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: Jean Deschênes, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Approach Considerations

Currently, no treatment is available for acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC). AHC usually exhibits a self-limited course. Although rare sequelae, such as radiculomyelitis, have been reported, the infection usually has no complications. Treatment with topical steroids should be avoided because of reported microbial superinfection of the cornea.

Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) usually is treated in an outpatient setting, since no medical treatment is available. After a 24- to 72-hour period of incubation, the infection runs its relatively short, but uncomfortable, course.

Hygiene, education, and avoidance of infectious contact are the most effective preventive measures for AHC available.

Recent studies in Changsa, China have assessed the efficacy of a quarantine method to help control outbreaks of AHC in schools. It was estimated that without intervention, almost all students would have become infected in 23 days. Using what the authors termed a susceptive-infective-quarantine removal (SIQR) model, the authors concluded that in the absence of definitive treatment, quarantine programs could be used to curtail AHC outbreaks at schools and reduce the number of accumulated cases. [7]

See the following for more information:


RNA Interference Therapy

There has been some development in the use of RNA interference (RNAi) to target regions of the EV70 genome. [19, 20] Replication of enterovirus has been shown to be reduced when these agents were used in an experimental laboratory cell line by Tan, Marcus, and Pohl in Singapore in 1980.


Follow-Up Care

Outpatient care of patients with acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) consists of careful follow-up exams to ensure that no complications occur and that the infection runs a benign, self-limited course.

The practitioner should be vigilant with regard to any complications in this essentially benign condition. Be aware that rare, but consequential, sequelae can occur. For this reason, it is wise to schedule a final examination after the infection has subsided to check for any residual effects.



A consultation would be appropriate in acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) only if the patient develops enteroviral infection in other organ systems. In this case, a second opinion would be of benefit depending on the nature of the systemic involvement.

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