Infectious conjunctivitis can be difficult to distinguish clinically due to the considerable overlap in clinical presentation so clinical diagnosis of conjunctivitis is often insufficient. It is therefore necessary to have a rapid diagnostic test that differentiates between the different causes of infectious conjunctivitis. Screening clinical samples by sample type/syndrome based multiplex real time PCR would allow for rapid detection of a variety of pathogens simultaneously, which will in turn aid in the treatment and clinical management of the patient. <p/>A multiplex real-time PCR assay for rapid and simultaneous detection of HSV 1 and 2, VZV, adenovirus and Chlamydia trachomatis (C.trachomatis) from eye swabs was developed and evaluated. The multiplex assay was shown to be sensitive, specific and robust. Reductions in sample turn around times have been achieved by reducing the amount of separate tests needed to be carried out.