How is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed?

Neha Mittal   by Neha Mittal, MS, Biotechnology    Last updated on October 3, 2019,

diagnosis of conjunctivitis


Diagnosis of conjunctivitis

Along with conjunctivitis, there are several other eye diseases or infections that are indicated with redness in eye such as acute glaucoma, keratitis, iritis, etc. Therefore, it becomes little difficult to know whether a person is suffering from conjunctivitis or some other disease.

The best possible way to diagnose pink eye infection (conjunctivitis) is to consult a doctor. The doctor will correctly identify the infection based on symptoms, history of previous infections, etc.

He may ask some questions to the patient on the basis of which he will decide the most appropriate treatment option.

Know when to consult a doctor

Usually conjunctivitis takes two to three weeks to cure naturally without treatment but it is a wise decision to consult a doctor as he will help you understand your eye condition and advice you to take measures to prevent pink eye infection from recurring.

For accurate treatment, it is very important to know the main reason of the infection. By looking at your symptoms and the answers to the questions you provide to your doctor, your doctor will easily determine whether a bacterium, virus or any allergic particle is causing pink eye infection.

This will help him choose the best possible treatment procedure for you. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult for the healthcare professionals to correctly identify the cause of conjunctivitis as in most cases the symptoms are almost similar. In such cases, doctors may opt for a swab test or a patch test.

Swab Test

Your doctor may consider for a swab test in two cases-

  • the cause for your conjunctivitis is becoming difficult to detect
  • your eye is not positively responding to the treatment procedure that has been decided by your healthcare professional

In both the cases, a swab test is done. In a swab test, a small sample of pus, mucus or a discharge is collected with sterile cotton and sent to the laboratory for testing. After the results arrive, your doctor may advice you to see an eye specialist or ophthalmologist depending on the severity of the infection.

Patch test

Apart from microbes, certain chemical substances or small particles such as pollen grains, also lead to conjunctivitis. These particles are termed as allergens. It is also important to know which allergen is the main source of infection. To know this, your doctor may ask you to get a patch test done.

Conjunctivitis and newborn babies

Newborn babies are more prone to infections and diseases as their immunity is not very strong. Infective conjunctivitis is the most common eye infection found in newborn babies. It is also termed as neonatal conjunctivitis. Babies might catch infection either from environment or from mother if she is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.

Whenever a baby shows the symptoms of pink eye infection, he or she should be immediately attended by a doctor. Any wait in time may increase severity and complicate the condition. The baby might become blind if he or she does not get proper treatment in time.

After diagnosing conjunctivitis, proper treatment procedure should be followed in order to cure the infection. Moreover, proper measures should be taken to prevent its relapse. Read about various treatment options of conjunctivitis here.

Neha Mittal

Neha Mittal completed graduation in Biotechnology from Graphics Era University, Dehradun and Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University, Noida. In the past, she worked with Sharon Biomedicine Ltd., DUKES Products Ltd., and Forest Research Institute, Dehradun as researcher in biotechnology.


Neha loves singing and dancing in leisure time. She also enjoys traveling and maintains a collection of great novels.

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