Vernal conjunctivitis is long-term (chronic) swelling (inflammation) of the outer lining of the eyes. It is due to an allergic reaction.
Vernal conjunctivitis often occurs in people with a strong family history of allergies. These may include allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema. It is most common in young males, and most often occurs during the spring and summer.
The health care provider will perform an eye exam.
Avoid rubbing the eyes because this can irritate them more.
Cold compresses (a clean cloth soaked in cold water and then placed over the closed eyes) may be soothing.
Lubricating drops may also help soothe the eye.
If home-care measures do not help, you may need to be treated by your provider. Treatment may include:
The FDA has recently approved cyclosporine A 0.1%, a mild form of the anti-cancer drug for acute episodes of vernal conjunctivitis. It may also help prevent recurrences.
The condition continues over time (is chronic). It gets worse during certain seasons of the year, most often in the spring and summer. Treatment may provide relief.
Complications may include:
Contact your provider if your symptoms continue or get worse.
Using air conditioning or moving to a cooler climate may help prevent the problem from getting worse in the future.
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Nehls SM. Vernal and atopic keratoconjunctivitis. In: Mannis MJ, Holland EJ, eds. Cornea. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 43.
Rubenstein JB, Spektor T. Allergic conjunctivitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.7.
US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves first generic of Restasis. www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-generic-restasis. Updated February 2, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2022.
Yucel OE, Ulus ND. Efficacy and safety of topical cyclosporine A 0.05% in vernal keratoconjunctivitis. Singapore Med J. 2016;57(9):507-510. PMID: 26768065 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26768065/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 2/17/2022
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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