Podcast 726: Ophthalmia Neonatorum - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 726: Ophthalmia Neonatorum

Contributor: Peter Bakes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Ophthalmia Neonatorum encompasses any conjunctivitis that presents within the first 28 days of life
  • Neonates often receive prophylactic silver nitrate eye drops for gonorrhea prophylaxis, but the drops can cause chemical conjunctivitis
  • Etiology & Timing of Presentation:
    • Silver nitrate conjunctivitis presents 0-2 days after birth
    • Neisseria gonorrhae presents 2-5 days after birth
    • Chlamydia trachomatis presents 5 days to 5 weeks
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae conjunctivitis is vision-threatening, typically requiring admission and  IV antibiotics with a 3rd generation cephalosporin


Castro Ochoa KJ, Mendez MD. Ophthalmia Neonatorum. [Updated 2021 Jul 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551572/

US Preventive Services Task Force, Curry SJ, Krist AH, et al. Ocular Prophylaxis for Gonococcal Ophthalmia Neonatorum: US Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2019;321(4):394-398. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.21367

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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