Ophthalmia Neonatorum Revisited

Louis-Jacques van Bogaert

Abstract

The microbiology, epidemiology and pathophysiology of ophthalmia neonatorum are reviewed with special emphasis on its prevention and management in the developing world. Although prophylaxis should be mandatory, no single topical agent is effective to prevent the ocular complications of both Neisseria gonorrhoea and Chlamydia trachomatis. Where levels of resistance to tetracyclines are low, however, tetracycline eye ointment is permissible for ocular prophylaxis. Eye prophylaxis has a relatively low failure rate. Management of ophthalmia neonatorum should be syndromic and systemic. Contact tracing is an integral part of the management. (Afr I Reprod Health 1998; 2(1 ):8 1 —86)

Keywords: Ophthalmia neonatorum, chiamydia, neisseria gonorrhoea, eye prophylaxis, contact tracing, neonatal conjunctivitis

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