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How do GPs diagnose and manage acute infective conjunctivitis? A GP survey

How do GPs diagnose and manage acute infective conjunctivitis? A GP survey
How do GPs diagnose and manage acute infective conjunctivitis? A GP survey
Objective: to determine GPs’ diagnosis and management of acute infective conjunctivitis (AIC)—one of the commonest but least researched acute infections seen in primary care.

Methods: a postal questionnaire survey of 300 GPs from two Health Authorities in Southern England.

Results: 236 (78%) GPs returned the questionnaire. 92% of those responding felt confident or very confident in the diagnosis of AIC. 95% usually prescribe topical antibiotics for AIC despite 58% stating that they thought at least half of the cases they see are viral in origin and only 36% believing that they could discriminate between bacterial and viral infection. There was considerable variability in GPs’ use of individual signs to make the diagnosis of AIC (from 99% using eye discharge to 31% using conjunctival oedema) and in the features used to discriminate viral from bacterial infection (from 87% using type of discharge to 47% using amount of discharge). GPs rarely perform eye swabs or give patient information leaflets to patients with AIC.

Conclusion: most GPs still prescribe topical antibiotics for most cases of AIC—a condition where only half of the cases are likely to be due to a bacterial infection, and even bacterial infections are self-limiting. Further research is needed to explore the potential benefits and disadvantages of topical antibiotics, and to develop clinical or microbiological methods to help GPs to target antibiotic prescription.
acute infective conjunctivitis, management, diagnosis
0263-2136
658-660
Everitt, Hazel
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef
Little, Paul
1bf2d1f7-200c-47a5-ab16-fe5a8756a777
Everitt, Hazel
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef
Little, Paul
1bf2d1f7-200c-47a5-ab16-fe5a8756a777

Everitt, Hazel and Little, Paul (2002) How do GPs diagnose and manage acute infective conjunctivitis? A GP survey. Family Practice, 19 (6), 658-660. (doi:10.1093/fampra/19.6.658).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: to determine GPs’ diagnosis and management of acute infective conjunctivitis (AIC)—one of the commonest but least researched acute infections seen in primary care.

Methods: a postal questionnaire survey of 300 GPs from two Health Authorities in Southern England.

Results: 236 (78%) GPs returned the questionnaire. 92% of those responding felt confident or very confident in the diagnosis of AIC. 95% usually prescribe topical antibiotics for AIC despite 58% stating that they thought at least half of the cases they see are viral in origin and only 36% believing that they could discriminate between bacterial and viral infection. There was considerable variability in GPs’ use of individual signs to make the diagnosis of AIC (from 99% using eye discharge to 31% using conjunctival oedema) and in the features used to discriminate viral from bacterial infection (from 87% using type of discharge to 47% using amount of discharge). GPs rarely perform eye swabs or give patient information leaflets to patients with AIC.

Conclusion: most GPs still prescribe topical antibiotics for most cases of AIC—a condition where only half of the cases are likely to be due to a bacterial infection, and even bacterial infections are self-limiting. Further research is needed to explore the potential benefits and disadvantages of topical antibiotics, and to develop clinical or microbiological methods to help GPs to target antibiotic prescription.

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More information

Published date: December 2002
Keywords: acute infective conjunctivitis, management, diagnosis

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 24329
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/24329
ISSN: 0263-2136
PURE UUID: fd7c0ff4-3152-4bcd-8f11-5935776a17cc
ORCID for Hazel Everitt: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-8403

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 02:51

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