Vernal keratoconjunctivitis in a Stockholm ophthalmic centre--epidemiological, functional, and immunologic investigations

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1999 Oct;77(5):559-63. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0420.1999.770516.x.


Purpose: To classify a cohort of 62 patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) in immunologic, functional, and epidemiological terms.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted to establish the patients' ethnic origin and to ascertain the results of standard in vitro and in vivo testing for atopic allergy. The latter data were compared with tear Phadiatop, an allergy screening test, in 31 subjects. Further subgroup analyses included methacholine bronchial provocations, serum screening for chlamydial antibodies and epidemiological calculations of the observed prevalence of VKC in the Stockholm area in 1994.

Results: Thirty-seven subjects (59.7%) were sensitised to common allergens. No additional allergic subjects were diagnosed with the tear Phadiatop test. The serology for ocular chlamydial disease was negative. Only 6 out of 17 subjects displayed bronchial reactivity to methacholine of whom 4 had a history of asthma. VKC was clearly more common in individuals with an Asian and African origin.

Conclusions: Sensitivity to allergens is a strong determinant for the disease but in a large proportion of the subjects this immunologic abnormality is absent. The varying prevalence of the condition in different ethnic groups indicates a genetic predisposing factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / chemically induced
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia / immunology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / epidemiology*
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / ethnology
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / immunology*
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Sweden / ethnology


  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Methacholine Chloride