Allergies are your body’s natural response when you’re exposed to certain substances called allergens. The most common allergy symptoms can simply make you uncomfortable. For example, you may have watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, a rash, or hives. Allergies may occur all year or only during certain seasons, depending on what you’re allergic to.
If you think your eyes are affected by allergies, you may need ocular allergy testing.
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology now offers diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of your eye allergies or irritations. This test, which is typically covered by many major medical insurances, helps to characterize, or rule out, eye allergies when differentiating types of eye surface diseases such as dry eyes, eye allergies, and blepharitis (a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids) which can have similar signs and symptoms.
The testing will be done at our 7 Mile location in the mornings, the fourth week of every month.
The testing itself is a series of 60 “gentle scratch tests” on the inner arm that will evaluate for environmental allergies (not including food allergies). The results are read after 10-15 minutes. If you have allergies, just a little swelling that looks and feels like a mosquito bite will occur where the allergen(s) to which you are allergic was introduced. These symptoms will gradually disappear over a period of 30 to 60 minutes. The results of this test will allow us to better treat ocular allergies. We will have a referral for an outside allergist available should you need to be referred for more severe environmental allergies that affect more than just your eyes.
Medications to Avoid Prior to Testing
Stop 5 days prior to testing:
• Oral antihistamines
• Tricyclic antidepressants and tranquilizers (be sure to check with your primary care provider before doing so)
Stop 3 days prior:
• Topical antihistamines
• Atypical antidepressants/sedatives (be sure to check with your primary care provider before doing so)
If you have allergy symptoms that affect your eyes, call 616.949.2600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule your ocular allergy test!