When sex can be an eye-opener

Can Chlamydial Conjunctivitis Result From Direct Ejaculation Into the Eye?” ask Simon Rackstraw, ND Viswalingam and Beng T Goh of the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. That question forms the title of a study they published in 2007 in the International Journal of STD and Aids. Drs Rackstraw, Viswalingam and Goh describe the plights of four patients, and disclose the detective work involved in diagnosing and treating them.

Conjunctivitis, whether caused by the sexually-transmitted disease chlamydia or by some other irritant, also goes by the name “pink eye”. It’s a catch-all description for inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membranes that line the eyelid and the surface of the eye.

The doctors finger the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis as the likely culprit in as many as 9% of the severe conjunctivitis cases seen by casualty departments….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.