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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Feb;138(2):129-39. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2007.10.027.

Intranasal corticosteroids reduce ocular symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis.

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  • University of Chicago Hopsitals, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. rnacleri@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu <rnacleri@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu>



Clinical data and recent guidelines support the positive effects of intranasal corticosteroids on allergic rhinitis-associated ocular symptoms. This article reviews the epidemiology and pathophysiology of ocular allergy symptoms and efficacy, tolerability, and potential mechanisms of action of intranasal corticosteroids in the treatment of this condition.


MEDLINE database.


A search of pertinent literature identified in vitro, preclinical, and clinical data that involve intranasal corticosteroids in ocular-related studies. Searches that used epidemiology, pathophysiology, drug class and specific agents, and other appropriate search terms were conducted.


Ocular symptoms, common in patients with allergic rhinitis, are associated with reduced quality of life and substantial economic costs. In the conjunctival epithelium, an early, type-1 hypersensitivity reaction occurs after direct allergen exposure. Progression to late-phase response, with recurrence of symptoms and infiltration of inflammatory cells, may occur 4 to 8 hours later and appears to be dose-related. Alteration of nasal ocular reflex pathways may also contribute to ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis. Clinical data indicate that intranasal corticosteroids significantly reduce total and individual ocular symptoms in subjects with allergic rhinitis. Meta-analyses have found that oral/topical antihistamines are not superior to intranasal corticosteroids in reducing ocular allergy symptoms. Ocular adverse events from intranasal corticosteroids are rare.


Intranasal corticosteroids are effective and well-tolerated in the treatment of ocular symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. Additional studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of intranasal corticosteroids on ocular symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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