Opticrom eyedrops (Fisons) contain 2% sodium cromoglycate and are intended for treating allergic diseases of the eye, particularly vernal keratoconjunctivitis or ‘spring catarrh’ which, despite its name, is usually most severe in the summer. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis involves the cornea and conjunctiva of young people who are usually atopic (that is, have a personal or family history of eczema, allergic rhinitis or asthma). It presents with itching, photophobia and blepharospasm which may be so severe as to be incapacitating. There may be a stringy mucous discharge, a cobblestone-like papillary hypertrophy of the tarsal conjunctiva visible on everting the upper lid, and sometimes vegetations on the limbal conjunctiva. Corneal erosions and ulcers may occur in severe cases. Although corticosteroid eye-drops remain the mainstay of treatment, their prolonged use occasionally causes blindness from glaucoma1 or from the exacerbation of a pre-existing herpes simplex keratitis.
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