Approximately 20% of all children and adults have some form of ocular allergy or allergic conjunctivitis.
Many patients just endure their symptoms, but there’s no need to suffer – ocular allergy testing can target the specific allergens affecting your vision.
Some of the most common allergens include:
Pollen from grass, trees, and weeds
When patients have an eye allergy, their immune system overreacts to a substance in the environment and creates antibodies to identify the allergen.
In future exposures to the allergen, the immune system releases chemical mediators, usually histamine. Histamine then triggers symptoms associated with allergic reactions.
Patients with ocular allergies experience one or more of the following:
Discharge from the eye
A feeling that a foreign object is in the eye
We usually encounter three primary types of atopic ocular allergies when testing:
This is a seasonally recurring conjunctivitis that affects the peripheral cornea and most often develops in children and young adults.
This type is more likely to occur in older patients with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema. It may cause more extensive corneal and conjunctival scarring.
This common allergy produces a sudden ocular response to an airborne allergen. The reaction is often short-lived and episodic.
Ocular allergies can also arise from reactions to certain medications:
A response mediated by IgE antibodies produces a sudden hypersensitivity reaction, causing swelling and itching. The most common drugs responsible for ocular allergies are penicillin, bacitracin, sulfacetamide, and anesthetics.
These allergic reactions are common and cause chronic red eyes. They may occur any time after a week of using certain medications, especially antibiotics and antiviral drops.
This type of ocular response develops more slowly in response to topical medications.
Some patients also develop ocular allergies in response to contact lenses or from proteins in the tears that bind to the surface of the lens. Symptoms include redness, itching, and discharge.
Dr. Besser uses the Doctor’s Rx Allergy Formula diagnostic testing kit to identify the allergens causing each patient’s eye irritation. This kit differentiates between ocular allergies, dry eyes, and blepharitis, which is important because they share similar symptoms.
The test kit is customized, with each panel testing for the 60 most common allergens of the region. It requires no needles or shots, and the diagnostic test only takes three minutes.
Dr. Besser can analyze the results of your eye allergy testing in just 10-15 minutes. He uses the information to develop a customized treatment plan, which may include a strategy to avoid allergens, prescription eye drops, or other medical therapies.