Vernal conjunctivitis is long-term (chronic) swelling (inflammation) of the outer lining of the eyes. It is due to an allergic reaction.
Exams and Tests
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 health care provider. This may include:
- Antihistamine or anti-inflammatory drops that are placed into the eye
- Eye drops that prevent a type of white blood cell called mast cells from releasing histamine (may help prevent future attacks)
- Mild steroids that are applied directly to the surface of the eye (for severe reactions)
The condition continues over time (is chronic). It gets worse during certain seasons of the year, usually spring and summer. Treatment may provide relief.
- Continuing discomfort
- Reduced vision
- Scarring of cornea
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care 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.
Stock EL. Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds.Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology
Rubenstein JB, Virasch V. Allergic conjunctivitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds.Ophthalmology
Barney NP, Graziano FM, Cook EB, Stahl JL. Allergic and immunologic diseases of the eye. In: Adkinson NF, Jr., ed.Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice
Hernandez-Trujillo V, Mitchell G, Lieberman P. Allergy. In: Rakel RE, ed.Textbook of Family Medicine
Update Date 5/8/2014
Updated by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.