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Topical steroid use in the treatment of ocular alkali burns
  1. A R Davis,
  2. Q H Ali,
  3. W A Aclimandos,
  4. P A Hunter
  1. King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London
  1. Ms A R Davis, King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5.


BACKGROUND Ocular alkali burns can be associated with a poor visual outcome. The release of collagenases and proteases after the injury leads to corneoscleral melting. The role of topical steroids in such patients is controversial as they have been postulated to exacerbate corneoscleral melting.

METHODS 30 patients were reviewed retrospectively after admission to King’s College Hospital with alkali burns between 1990 and 1993. All patients were treated with an intense and prolonged regimen of topical steroids and topical and systemic vitamin C.

RESULTS 22 patients had mild injuries and eight had severe injuries as estimated by the Roper-Hall grading system. 23 patients were treated with topical steroids for > 10 days and 22 patients were treated with topical vitamin C for more than 10 days. One patient with a severe injury developed corneoscleral melting.

CONCLUSION Prolonged treatment with topical steroids when used in conjunction with topical vitamin C is not associated with corneoscleral melting.

  • alkali burns, ocular
  • steroids
  • vitamin C

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