, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 331-347
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Treatment of Viral Conjunctivitis with Antiviral Drugs

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Abstract

Viral conjunctivitis is one of the most common disorders observed in ophthalmic emergency departments, yet no established treatment exists. Lately, antiviral medications have been introduced into clinical practice; however, a systematic review focusing on their use and effectiveness in the treatment of viral conjunctivitis has not been previously reported. We systemically reviewed the literature to identify studies where antiviral drugs were used to treat viral conjunctivitis. Currently, aciclovir, trifluridine and valaciclovir are commonly used as antiviral agents to treat herpesvirus infections. Cidofovir has been used successfully to treat some cases of adenoviral conjunctivitis, although toxicity has also been reported. The use of other medications, such as idoxuridine, has been minimized in clinical practice due to their high toxicity. Interestingly, most of the antiviral drugs developed are used to treat herpesvirus infections, while less progress has been made in the field of adenoviral infections. For other viral causes of conjunctivitis, no effective remedy is currently available, and treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms. Caution should be exercised when coadministering other pharmacological agents, such as corticosteroids, because of emerging adverse effects.