Also called allergic conjunctivitis, ocular allergy affects up to 30% of the US population and occurs when something you are allergic to irritates the delicate membrane covering the inside of the eyelid, the conjunctiva.
Like all allergies, allergic conjunctivitis starts when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen, such as pollen, grass, dust, pet dander, and others. This causes your immune system to overreact and produce antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals which cause an allergic reaction. Typical symptoms include:
- Watery Eyes
- Swelling and/or burning of the eyes and lids
It is important to note that most forms of ocular allergy, while uncomfortable, are not sight threatening. However, some rare forms of ocular allergy, such as Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis (AKC), may pose a more significant threat to vision.
Patients who exhibit any of the signs of ocular allergy should be carefully examined by their eye care physician.
ATD’ s point of care tear test for IgE is the only test ever approved by the FDA to confirm the diagnosis of ocular allergy.