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Eye


Definition:

Vernal conjunctivitis is swelling (inflammation) of the outer lining of the eyes due to an allergic reaction.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Vernal conjunctivitis often occurs in people with a strong family history of allergies. It is most common during the spring and summer.

The condition causes itchy, watery eyes. The underside of the eyelids may become rough and covered with bumps and a whitish mucus. The area around the cornea where the white of the eye and the cornea meet (limbus) may become rough and swollen. If this swelling and roughness moves over the cornea, it may cause scarring and decreased vision.



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

The health care provider will perform an eye exam.



Treatment:

Avoid rubbing the eyes, because this can irritate them more.

Cold compresses (a clean cloth soaked in cold water and then placed over the eyes) may be soothing. The health care provider may prescribe topical corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation. Cromolyn sodium or antihistamine drops may also be prescribed.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

The condition continues over time, and gets worse during certain seasons of the year. Treatment may provide relief.



Complications:
  • Continuing discomfort
  • Reduced vision
  • Scarring of cornea


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if your symptoms continue or get worse.



Prevention:

Using air conditioning or moving to a cooler climate may help prevent the problem from getting worse in the future.




Review Date: 1/25/2008
Reviewed By: Manju Subramanian, MD, Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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