A randomized, double-masked trial of topical ketorolac versus artificial tears for treatment of viral conjunctivitis

Ophthalmology. 2000 Aug;107(8):1512-7. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(00)00177-9.


Objective: To determine if topical ketorolac 0.5% relieves the symptoms and signs of viral conjunctivitis better than artificial tears.

Design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Participants: One hundred seventeen patients with a clinical diagnosis of viral conjunctivitis were randomized to the treatment group or control group.

Methods: Physicians and patients were masked to treatment. Patients in the treatment group received topical ketorolac 0.5% four times daily. Patients in the control group received artificial tears four times daily. Symptom and sign scores were recorded on the day of recruitment and at the time of a follow-up examination 3 to 4 days later.

Main outcome measures: Change in six symptoms of conjunctivitis (overall discomfort, itching, foreign body sensation, tearing, redness, and lid swelling) and four signs of conjunctivitis (conjunctival injection, conjunctival chemosis, conjunctival mucus, and lid edema). Adverse effects were also studied.

Results: A total of 105 patients returned for their 3- to 4-day follow-up. Both the artificial tear and ketorolac groups showed improvement in all symptom scores at their 3- to 4-day follow-up visit. There was no statistically significant difference between the change in symptom scores between the treatment group and control group in any symptom category except redness. Patients in the control group were more likely to report improvement in redness than those in the treatment group, P = 0.012. There was no statistically significant difference between the change in sign scores between the treatment and control groups. Ketorolac 0.5% was more likely to produce stinging than artificial tears, 59.2% versus 18.8%, P < 0.001.

Conclusions: Topical ketorolac 0.5% used four times daily is no better than artificial tears at relieving the symptoms or signs of viral conjunctivitis and produces more stinging than artificial tears.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Conjunctivitis, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Conjunctivitis, Viral / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ketorolac / administration & dosage
  • Ketorolac / adverse effects
  • Ketorolac / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / adverse effects
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Ketorolac