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Definition Return to top
Vernal conjunctivitis is swelling (inflammation) of the outer lining of the eyes due to an allergic reaction.
Causes Return to top
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 Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider will perform an eye exam.
Treatment Return to top
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.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The condition continues over time, and gets worse during certain seasons of the year. Treatment may provide relief.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if your symptoms continue or get worse.
Prevention Return to top
Using air conditioning or moving to a cooler climate may help prevent the problem from getting worse in the future.Update Date: 1/25/2008 Updated by: Manju Subramanian, MD, Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.