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Spontaneous Subconjunctival Abscess Because of Haemophilus influenzae

Brooks, Clifford W III MD, CAPT, USAF, MC; DeMartelaere, Sheri L MD, FACS, LTC, MC, USA; Johnson, Anthony J MD, COL, MC, USA

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181c58efe
Case Report

Purpose: To report a case of a spontaneous subconjunctival abscess in a patient with no previous ocular surgery or trauma.

Method: Case report.

Results: We report a case of a subconjunctival abscess caused by Haemophilus influenzae after several days of worsening conjunctivitis. Computed tomography scans of the orbits confirmed an abscess cavity adjacent to the globe without orbital extension. The abscess was spontaneously draining at presentation and resolved completely with topical and oral antibiotic therapy.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first-described case of spontaneous subconjunctival abscess formation in an immunocompetent individual unrelated to preexisting ocular pathology, previous ocular surgery, or trauma. H. influenzae species may possess the ability to penetrate an intact conjunctiva and develop subconjunctival abscess. We recommend that patients presenting with bacterial conjunctivitis be closely examined to rule out subconjunctival abscess, which may require additional aggressive medical or surgical management.

From the *Brooke Army Medical Center, Ophthalmology Service, TX.

Received for publication February 6, 2009; revision received September 14, 2009; accepted October 7, 2009.

Financial disclosures: none.

Reprints: Clifford W. Brooks III, Brooke Army Medical Center, Ophthalmology Service, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, MCHE-SDO, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6200 (e-mail:

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