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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2019 May;67(5):594-598. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1352_18.

Comparison of the safety and efficacy of topical Tacrolimus (0.03%) versus dexamethasone (0.05%) for subepithelial infiltrates after adenoviral conjunctivitis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Laser Eye Clinic, Noida, UP, India.



To compare the safety and efficacy of tacrolimus 0.03% ointment with dexamethasone 0.05% ointment for subepithelial infiltrates (SEIs) following adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis (AK).


A randomized, double blind trial was done. Eligibility criteria was corrected distance visual acuity of 6/9 Snellen or worse for at least 4 weeks with corneal SEIs following AK. The grading of SEIs was done on a scale of 0 to 3; 0, no infiltrates, 1 mild infiltration, 2 moderate infiltration and 3, severe infiltration. Consecutive patients with SEIs following AK were randomized to receive either topical tacrolimus 0.03% or dexamethasone 0.05% ointment twice daily for 6 months. Treatment was successful if there was reduction of SEIs and improvement in vision.


A total of 45 patients each were assigned to the Tacro and Dexa groups, respectively. Baseline characteristics of patients did not differ significantly (P > 0.001). There was a significant change in symptoms, vision and SEIs in both the groups. However, the magnitude was greater in tacro group. Treatment was successful in 37 (92.5%) patients in Tacro and 34 (85%) patients in dexa group. In dexa group, after a period of 1.24 ± 0.24 months, 7 (15.6%) patients developed a significant rise in intraocular pressure (IOP). Three (7.5%) eyes in tacro and 6 (15%) eyes in dexa group had recurrence of SEIs after cessation of therapy.


Tacrolimus 0.03% is an effective alternative to dexamethasone 0.05% with low recurrence rate, no significant rise in IOP but may cause burning and foreign body sensation in some patients.


Adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis; dexamethasone; subepithelial infiltrates; tacrolimus

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