Ocular Allergy Services

Ocular Allergy Evaluation

  • The reputation of Arizona as the “Mecca” for allergy and asthma sufferers is long gone.  Up to 50% of Americans have some form of allergy, and itchy, watery eyes ranks No. 1 as the most annoying allergy symptom (ahead of runny nose, sneezing, and scratchy throat).
  • Although allergy symptoms can be greatest during the spring and fall, Arizona now “enjoys” year-round allergy causing agents.
  • Allergies can be divided into two groups: “seasonal (pollen from trees, grass, or plants),” and “perennial (year-round from dust, molds, mites, pet dander, and other environmental factors).”
  • Most people affected by allergies will “self-medicate” with OTC products.  However, OTC medications are often far less affective than prescription formulations.  It has also been found that chronic use of some of these OTC products (such as vasoconstrictors, with or without antihistamines) can be toxic to the eyes, causing reactions that may take weeks to resolve once the product is stopped.
  • The hallmark ocular allergy symptom is itchiness. 
  • Our allergy evaluation will include:
    • A thorough medical history, this will help to distinguish allergies from other eye problems (e.g., bacterial conjunctivitis, a.k.a. “pink eye”).
    • A microscopic evaluation of the surface of your eyes, as well as the tissue underneath your eyelids (the most commonly missed site for signs of allergies).
    • A review of the findings as well as the most successful treatment options, which can include:
        • Prescribing topical (eye drop) medications that approach allergies from two levels:
          • one, antihistaminic relief of symptoms, and,
          • two, control of the underlying physiological reaction that leads to allergy symptoms, often providing relief within just a few days.
        • Allergies can often be mistaken by for “pink eye (bacterial conjunctivitis),” but an antibiotic is typically ineffective in the treatment of allergies.
        • For severe symptoms, a steroid drop may be prescribed for short term use.
        • Cool compresses and lubricating drops can also provide some relief of symptoms.
        • Oral non-sedating prescription antihistamines which have been effective in decreasing ocular allergy symptoms.
  • If you are an allergy sufferer, you know how debilitating it can be.  Allergies cannot be cured, but they can be controlled.  A proper diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan can provide the greatest relief.
What do you have to lose, except your itchy, watery, mucousy, blurry, scratchy, gritty eye symptoms?
And that’s “nothing to sneeze at.”