Atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC) is the most severe type of allergic conjunctivitis and may eventually lead to blindness. Although AKC is reported to be more prevalent in adults, we report a child with AKC whose clinical characteristics were not inconsistent with those typically seen in adult patients with AKC, and who was refractory to traditional topical anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant therapies. An 11-year-old boy presented with a 3-month history of ocular redness and itching and decreased vision for a week in both eyes. Slit-lamp examination revealed typical signs of vernal keratoconjunctivitis, including cobblestone papillae in both upper conjunctiva, superficial punctate keratopathy on the right cornea, and a sterile shield-shaped ulcer on the left cornea. Physical examination revealed eczematous lid changes and a generalized body rash, particularly on the face, neck, and flexor surfaces of the limbs. He was diagnosed to have AKC in both eyes and atopic dermatitis. The patient did not respond well to conventional topical antihistamine, mast cell stabilizers, corticosteroids, or tacrolimus, even in combination with amniotic membrane transplant. After using systemic immunosuppressants, the symptoms were relieved; the inflammation on the skin and ocular surface subsided, the cobblestone papillae disappeared, and the corneal ulcer healed gradually within 8 weeks. This case reveals that pediatric AKC should be differentiated from vernal keratoconjunctivitis because both disorders include upper cobblestone papillae, but the former is accompanied by atopic dermatitis. Pediatric AKC requires appropriate and aggressive treatment to prevent sight-threatening corneal complications. Systemic immunosuppressant should be considered when traditional topical anti-inflammatory therapies have failed.

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