Conjunctivitis More Common in Adult Women Than Men

HealthDay News — Adult women have a higher prevalence of conjunctivitis than men, and cases peak in the spring, according to a research letter published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

David A. Ramirez, from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues calculated national estimates of encounters with a primary diagnosis of acute conjunctivitis, and estimated the incidence of conjunctivitis diagnosed in the emergency department using population figures from the 2010 US decennial census as the denominator.

From 2010 through 2013, 555,740 encounters in US emergency departments that resulted in a primary diagnosis of conjunctivitis were identified. 

The researchers found that there was a bimodal distribution of conjunctivitis diagnosed in the emergency department, with the highest rates in children younger than 7 years and a minor mode in early adulthood. When the analysis was restricted to individuals age 18 years and older, conjunctivitis was more common among women, with a minor mode seen in women and men at ages 22 and 28 years, respectively. Among all ages, conjunctivitis cases had significant seasonality; children aged 0 to 4 years had a peak in conjunctivitis presentations in March, while other age groups had a peak in May.

“We believe caregiver proximity to young children likely explains the peak of conjunctivitis in early adulthood but cannot prove this hypothesis from our data,” the authors write.

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Ramirez DA, Porco TC, Lietman TM, et al. Epidemiology of conjunctivitis in US emergency departments. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(10):1119-1121.