Atopic keratoconjunctivitis, or AKC, is a severe allergic conjunctivitis which usually persists all year and for which the allergen(s) are usually unidentified. AKC, which is an orphan disease, mainly affects adults and is triggered by mast cell activation secondary to inflammatory stimuli including eosinophils, neutrophils and Th2-generated cytokines.
Treatment is initially with topical lubricants, antihistamines, immunomodulators (e.g. ciclosporin A) and intermittent steroids but systemic immunotherapy may become necessary in patients unresponsive to topical therapy.
AKC sufferers usually exhibit symptoms such as itching, burning, tearing, erythematosus and swollen eye lids. The disease may lead to corneal scarring and may also lead to vascularization of the cornea. Both eyes are usually affected equally. There is substantial unmet need for topical agents that will prevent the progression of corneal involvement and the requirement for systemic immunomodulators.