Why we do Allergy Testing in the Dry Eye Clinic

In the past, if a patient complained about allergy symptoms, we gave them drops and sent them away. We tended to minimize their complaints. Today, with our increased understanding of ocular surface disease we can discover the root cause of the problem!

Currently, many ophthalmologists are using allergy skin testing to pinpoint what local allergens are triggering inflammation and whether allergies are truly the cause of a patient’s complaints. When patients are unable to wear their contacts secondary to itching and redness, what do we do? When itching causes patients to rub their eyes all day long, what do we do? How can we help patients understand WHY they are suffering and HOW to fix it? We do percutaneous allergen skin testing.

Percutaneous skin testing does not involve blood or needles. We use a non-invasive, skin contact approach that tests 58 of the most common local antigens along with a histamine control. The procedure, which takes 15-20 minutes, is performed by a certified technician under the supervision of an ophthalmologist. The results are then reviewed with the patient by the ophthalmologist, including potential treatment and antigen avoidance strategies.

We file for insurance using a medical code for eye allergy testing and therefore it is minimal out of pocket cost to the patient. Not only are they getting tangible results to help combat our local allergens, the patient goes home with educational materials and a customized treatment/avoidance plan. Our patient education and support will far exceed all expectations!

So, what happens if we rule out ocular allergy as the cause of the patient’s complaints but they are still symptomatic? Our cornea-trained physicians will complete a comprehensive ocular surface disease evaluation and determine the best next steps to make the patient more comfortable. Our goal is to achieve the utmost in patient care and satisfaction!