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Nursing Care Plan for Infective Conjunctivitis / Pink Eye



Conjunctivitis, commonly referred to as “pink eye”, is an infection of the membrane that covers the eye and lines the eyelids (conjunctiva). Infective pink eye, caused by a virus or bacteria, normally occurs in only one eye, although it can spread to both eyes. Pinkeye is very contagious and is easily spread through poor hand hygiene, which is why it is so common in children.  


Conjunctivitis in newborns is most often caused by Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, or Staphylococcus epidermis from the vaginal flora during childbirth, although herpes simplex, gonorrhea, and chlamydia infections may also be the cause. Older children with bacterial conjunctivitis are primarily caused by H influenza (Hib) and cannot be prevented with the vaccine.  

Desired Outcome

The patient will be free from infection; the patient will have no change or loss of vision; the patient will be free from pain and discomfort

Infective Conjunctivitis / Pink Eye Nursing Care Plan

Subjective Data:

  • Itching of the eye(s)
  • Pain in the eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to light

Objective Data:

  • Erythema of one or both eyes
  • Swelling of the eyelid(s)
  • Crusty appearance around the eye(s)
  • Watery discharge from the eye
  • Purulent drainage (yellow or green) from the eye

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

  • Assess eyes and vision Assess for signs of ear infection
  The common signs of pink eye are erythema and clear or purulent discharge. Vision loss is not typical but may be distorted or blurred. Otitis media is a common co-infection and symptoms may overlap  
  • Assess vitals
  Get baseline and help determine if there is an underlying systemic infection. Pink eye usually does not present with a fever.  
  • Use proper PPE and disinfect all equipment per facility protocol
  Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are spread through contact. Disinfect all equipment to prevent cross-contamination from other patients.  
  • Obtain history from patient and parents, depending on the patient’s age
  Determine if others in the home have similar symptoms. Isolate the patient from these family members. Does the patient attend school or daycare where it is easy to pick up germs and bacteria? How long has the patient had symptoms?  
  • Apply a warm compress over eye
  Make sure the compress is moist and warm (not hot) to help relieve discomfort.  
  • Instill drops and apply ointments to eyes as necessary. Administer medications as required
  Antibiotic drops or ointments are used to treat bacterial infections. Antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids may also be given to relieve symptoms  
  • Encourage patient to remain home from school or daycare for approximately 7 days
  Pink eye infections are highly contagious and easily spread through contact. Isolating the patient from other children will prevent the continued spread of the illness.  
  • Educate patients and parents/caregivers of proper hygiene and how to prevent further spread of infection:
    • Avoid rubbing the eye(s)
    • Clean eye discharge with a tissue (dispose of carefully)
    • Do not share towels or clothing with others
    • Teach parent to instill eye drops or apply ointments at home for continued treatment
  Help patients and parents/caregivers understand the importance of proper care and hygiene to prevent the spread of infection to other children or family members. Correct installation of eye drops and the correct administration of medications is imperative for optimal therapeutic benefit.  


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  • Question 1 of 4

The nurse is caring for a client diagnosed with conjunctivitis. Which of the following should be discussed prior to discharge?

  • Question 2 of 4

The nurse caring for a client admitted with pneumonia assesses which of the following clinical manifestations of bacterial conjunctivitis? Select all that apply.

  • Question 3 of 4

The nurse is providing education on administering antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis. Which instructions should be included in the teaching?

  • Question 4 of 4

The nurse is educating a family on how to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. Which of the following should be included in the teaching? Select all that apply.

Module 0 – Nursing Care Plans Course Introduction
Module Obstetrics (OB) & Pediatrics (Peds) Care Plans

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