Primary conjunctival tuberculosis in a 14 year old girl

Indian J Tuberc. 2011 Jan;58(1):32-4.


Tuberculosis is a common disease in India. However, tuberculosis primarily affecting the conjuctiva is a rare entity. We report a 14-year-old girl who presented with unilateral eye discharge, watering, redness and itching for two weeks. Giant papillae were present on the upper tarsal conjunctiva. A provisional diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis was made. Topical therapy with 1% Prednisolone acetate and 2% Sodium cromoglycate was commenced. The patient returned six months later with no improvement in the symptoms. The tarsal conjunctiva had a polypoidal, velvety appearance with giant papillae. A fibrinous membrane was seen over the tarsal conjunctiva and a preauricular node was found. Excision biopsy and histopathologic examination revealed necrotizing granulomatous inflammation suggestive of tuberculosis. Systemic examination and investigations were normal. She was started on anti-tuberculous therapy. In two months she showed complete resolution of symptoms and marked reduction in papillae and conjunctival thickening. Symptoms and signs of unilateral conjunctivitis may masquerade as primary conjunctival tuberculosis. In an endemic country like India, laterality, chronicity and non-resolution of symptoms with steroids are indications for pursuing a biopsy earlier than later. In our patient, the histopathology clinched the diagnosis of conjunctival tuberculosis resulting in a faster and complete resolution of the disease condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / drug therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents