Have you ever wondered if you suffer from allergies? If you do have seasonal allergies, do you know what it is that you are allergic to?
Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. – 60 million Americans suffer from allergies – and 24 million have ocular allergies.
Many patients suffer for years before being tested or even realizing that ocular allergies were the issue. While treating symptoms may be their main focus, it is also important to diagnosis the problem through allergy testing to reduce the occurrence of symptoms in the future.
Through diagnostic testing, your specific allergies can be diagnosed. This typically includes a simple, painless (shot-free) 3-minute test that is covered by major medical insurance. The results of the test can be read after only 10-15 minutes. Once the allergen is identified, a custom treatment protocol can address your specific needs.
Our immune system protects us by fighting germs that are dangerous to our bodies. While this is important for our health, people can develop allergies when their immune system has become hypersensitive to harmless substances, such as pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and plants. When you have an allergy, your immune system no longer ignores the substances and, instead, attacks them, signaling a chemical release that triggers irritating symptoms. The eyes are an especially allergy-prone area, as they tend to be sensitive to airborne allergens. While you can typically mask the irritation and discomfort with antihistamines or other medications, the underlying cause needs to be identified to fully treat the allergy.
For those who wish to treat an allergy, a skin “scratch” test can be utilized, which is a non-invasive treatment that helps detect your body’s reaction to an allergen. The procedure entails a light scratch to the surface of your skin followed by the application of small doses of allergens. The specialty device provides 58 of the most common allergens found around your region to determine the cause of your allergies. The procedure also utilizes a positive histamine test and a negative saline test to determine if your skin’s reaction is accurate, or if sensitive skin is skewing the results. If you show a reaction to any of the allergens, it will resemble the small bump caused by a mosquito bite. Since everyone’s body reacts differently to various allergens, understanding what you are allergic to is necessary for effective treatment.
Once the eye doctor knows the allergens that are causing your symptoms, an effective treatment plan can be recommended. These treatment plans include:
At Eye Doctors of Washington, we believe that correctly identifying the problem is the first step towards effective treatment. Allergies are a huge problem in the Washington, DC area, and they can almost always be controlled so that patients are comfortable year round.
If you suffer from ANY of these symptoms you may have ocular allergies:
Itchy Eyes - Dry Eyes – Burning Eyes – Red/Bloodshot Eyes - Watery Eyes - Swollen Eyes - Dark Circles Under Eyes - Congestion - Runny Nose - Flaky/Red Skin - Asthma