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Conjunctival injury

Matthew F Gardiner, MD
Carolyn E Kloek, MD
Section Editors
Richard G Bachur, MD
Maria E Moreira, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Trauma to the ocular surface often involves the conjunctiva. Mechanisms of injury to the conjunctiva include thermal and chemical burns and blunt or penetrating trauma. While injuries can be isolated to the conjunctiva, conjunctival injury can be the presenting sign of underlying intraocular trauma, including open globe injury. Careful evaluation, initial management, and triage of conjunctival injuries are essential to promote appropriate healing of the conjunctiva and other associated ocular injuries.

The approach to subconjunctival hemorrhage, conjunctival abrasions, conjunctival foreign bodies, and conjunctival lacerations will be reviewed here. The treatment of corneal abrasions and foreign bodies and ocular chemical burns are discussed separately. (See "Corneal abrasions and corneal foreign bodies: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis" and "Topical chemical burns", section on 'Eye exposure'.)


The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent tissue which covers and is adherent to the anterior portion of the sclera and lines the inside of the eyelids (figure 1).

The conjunctiva is conventionally divided into two sections:

Bulbar conjunctiva covering the sclera

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 28, 2017.
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