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Acyclovir ointment plus topical betamethasone or placebo in first episode disciform keratitis.
  1. W. J. Power,
  2. M. P. Hillery,
  3. A. Benedict-Smith and
  4. L. M. Collum
  1. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


    Thirty patients with first episode disciform keratitis and with no previous steroid exposure were randomly assigned to double blind treatment with 3% acyclovir ointment and 0.1% betamethasone (Betnesol) drops or acyclovir ointment and matching placebo. In the steroid group 14 of the 15 patients healed in a mean time of 21.8 days. In the placebo group eight of the 13 patients healed in a mean time of 34.5 days. The difference in mean healing time between the two groups was significant (p < 0.05). The cumulative rate of healing was also quicker in the steroid group when compared with the placebo group (p < 0.001). Other clinical parameters improved more favourably in the combination treatment group. Four patients, two in either group, experienced a mild transient punctate epitheliopathy, but no other serious adverse effects were noted. There has been no significant difference in the recurrence rate between the two groups after a mean follow-up period of approximately 3 years.

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