Ocular allergies are inflammatory reactions to substances in the environment that your body perceives as harmful. The reaction causes inflammation of the conjunctive tissues of the eyes as well as the eyelids. This leads to a range of symptoms, some of which can be painful and debilitating. There is a wide range of potential allergens, from grass and tree pollen to mold, dust mites and dander.
One of the biggest challenges of eye allergies is determining exactly what is causing them. This is where testing for eye allergies comes in, and more specifically, a revolutionary new approach to identifying the triggers of ocular allergic reactions - AllerFocus. Here’s what you need to know about eye allergies, testing, and treatment.
Every patient is different, and this means that eye allergies have the potential to affect us in different ways. Nevertheless, most patients will experience some or all of the following symptoms:
The sensation of a foreign body in the eyes
Discomfort or pain
A burning sensation
Sensitivity to light
Ocular symptoms may also be accompanied by a range of general allergy symptoms including itchy, flaky skin, a runny nose, cough or throat irritation, and congestion.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should speak to your eye doctor as you may be suffering from an eye allergy.
AllerFocus Ocular is a definitive way of determining whether a patient is suffering from eye allergies. The testing solution gives your eye care professional the opportunity to pinpoint the root cause of your symptoms and identify the most effective treatment to provide you with relief from them.
The test itself is a pain-free, needle-free skin scratch that tests for 78 of the most common airborne and environmental allergens. Once the test has been administered, it usually takes a maximum of 15 minutes to form a reaction on the skin. If a reaction is present, hypersensitivity to one of the allergens has been detected. The entire process can be carried out in just 20 minutes. Your individual results will enable your eye doctor to make a recommendation as to the right treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
While it is possible to treat the symptoms associated with ocular allergies, most patients would prefer to achieve a long-term solution to their problem. AllerFocus immunotherapy solutions seek to make this possible.
Sublingual immunotherapy. This treatment involves the use of special drops that are designed to treat a range of different allergies. It works by gradually encouraging the body to become tolerant to the allergen, which it does by placing allergy drops under the tongue once per day. The drop is held under the tongue for up to two minutes and then swallowed. Over time and with continued treatment, patients will find that their symptoms ease and they may even be less reliant or able to give up on other allergy medications. Sublingual immunotherapy is recommended to extend between 3 and 5 years to be most effective.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy. This treatment technique is also based around gradual exposure to allergens, but rather than using drops, this technique is injection-based. Once specific allergens have been identified, a tiny amount of them is injected back into the body in order to trigger it to release antibodies that can block allergy symptoms. The amount of allergen being injected is increased each week until the patient becomes completely tolerant to it. Unlike drops, these injections have to be performed by a professional and so require regularly scheduled appointments. However, like sublingual immunotherapy, the treatment needs to be continued for between 3-5 years to be effective.
If you are suffering from eye allergies and you would like advice and support, don’t hesitate to speak to our expert eye care team in Houston, TX.