What is Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

In most cases unexpectedly, the bacteria Chlamydia can manifest in the person’s eye. And even though each infection involves a different bacteria subtype, it can manifest in both the inclusion conjunctivitis and trachoma form.

What is Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

Chlamydial conjunctivitis is swelling and redness of the membrane that lines the inside of a person’s eyelid, caused by the bacteria Chlamydia.

What Causes Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

There are numerous known causes for Conjuctivitis, but only few for Bacterial Conjunctivitis. This infection can be a caused by the several bacteria types that include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • Hemophilus influenzae

Conjunctivitis vs. Bacterial Conjunctivitis vs. Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis

Do you understand the difference between these three terms?

Bacterial Conjunctivitis is the most common type of Conjuctivitis known in healthy individuals. On the other hand, Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis is one type of Bacterial Conjunctivitis.

This type of Conjunctivitis is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacteria responsible for various STDs in adults. For this reason, you may also find this infection referred to as ‘chlamydial inclusion Conjunctivitis in adults’.

When the eye’s conjunctiva is inflamed, this may be a sign of Conjunctivitis. More specifically, we are referring to the membrane that covers the white region of your eye. In this case, this part will turn pink or red, which is  something we also know as Pink Eye.

When a person is infected with Conjunctivitis, they may have these symptoms in one or both eyes, as well as experience other symptoms such as:

  • Watery discharge from eyes
  • Inflammation
  • Irritation

Depending on the severity of the infection, Conjunctivitis may also affect the person’s vision. For this reason, it is crucial that infected people turn to doctors for urgent care with medication.

Who Can Get Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

Even though the name suggests the opposite, this infection does not actually occur only in adults. Surely, sexually active individuals are at the highest risk of being infected, but newborns may also require a certain infection type from the mother.

This is known as Neonatal Chlamydial Conjunctivitis.

In addition, statistics say that women are more likely to get infected with this bacteria than men.

Risk Factors for Chlamydial Conjunctivitis

As with any other condition, some people are more susceptible to getting it than others. Here are the most common predisposing factors for Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis:

  • Chlamydial Conjunctivitis can easily spread in crowded spaces, including hospitals
  • People who share infected items or have close contact with a person who is infected are at high risk of being infected
  • Exposure to certain pathogens known to cause STDs.
  • People who do not practice safe sex have a high risk
  • Certain eye disorders such as dryness of the eye, blepharitis and structural abnormalities can predispose a person to this infection.

Of course, having one of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will get the condition. Any risk factor can increase the chances of getting a particular condition, but this is not a cause for alert.

Still, make sure to discuss the effects of these factors with your healthcare provider. Some of them are more important than others.

How to Detect Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis

The most common signs and symptoms of Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis are:

  • Redness and itching in one or both eyes
  • Eye inflammation and pain, with sand-like particles feeling inside the eye
  • Discharge of yellow or green color, usually seen on waking-up
  • Sticky eyelids in the morning
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the ears
  • Other disorders that affect the reproductive system in women, such as inflammation of the urethra/vagina or pelvic inflammatory disease

Possible Complications

If the cornea of the eye is involved or you do not treat the infection in a prompt manner, there may be certain complications involved. In addition, this can be affected by secondary conditions presence.

Possible complications of Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis include:

  • Permanent eye damage
  • Permanent loss of vision
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Bonding of the eyelids to the eyeball, total or partial
  • Inflamed intraocular cavities
  • Higher risk for other health complications, such as pneumonia, central nervous system problems and septicemia
  • Chronic recurrence of Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis

Treatment and Prevention

When diagnosed early and treated rapidly and properly, people are able to prevent any of the permanent complications from this type of conjunctivitis.


Some of the most popular treatment measures include:

  • Antibiotic medications such as erythromycin and oral tetracycline
  • Topical antibacterial ointments or systemic antibiotics
  • Warm compress to reduce the discomfort
  • Regular cleaning of the eye with saline solution
  • Soft and wet cotton wool for cleaning the eye crusts
  • Lubricating drops to soothe the eye and keep them wet
  • Corneal transplant in the case of severe infection and loss of vision


Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis is a highly infectious condition, which is why you need to do everything possible to prevent it. The spread of this condition can be prevented significantly by maintaining your hygiene. Therefore, try to wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing make-up, towels and pillows.

And most importantly, seeing that this is an STD, abstain from unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners.

Preventing Adult Chlamydial Conjunctivitis aggravation includes measures such as:

  • Staying out of the sun
  • Keeping away from crowded places and your workplace
  • Avoid wearing eye lenses and wearing glasses instead
  • Abstain from unprotected sex
  • Get in touch with the healthcare provider right away and inform on your condition
  • Keep away from smoke
  • Keep away from dust
  • Do not rub or touch your eyes. If the infected patient is a child, try to prevent this as much as possible

Chlamydial Conjunctivitis is a curable infection, but only if you treat it in time. If not, you are risking some serious complications, which is why it is best to visit the doctor’s office immediately when you experience symptoms of the infection.

Of course, the best thing to do is prevent Chlamydial Conjunctivitis altogether.

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