Frequently Asked Questions about Ocular Allergy Testing

Q:What is an allergy test?
A: Skin testing is a method to test for allergic antibodies.
Q:What is an allergy?
A:An immune response by the body to a substance such as a pollen, fur, or dust to which it has become hypersensitive or overly sensitive.
Q:What is an allergen?
A:An allergen is a substance which causes an allergic reaction.
Q: What are ocular (eye) allergies?
A:Ocular allergies, otherwise known as allergic conjunctivitis, are not contagious.  They are merely the overreaction of the bodies’ immune system’s hypersensitivity to an allergen.
Q:What are some symptoms of ocular allergies?
A:Ocular allergies can manifest in dryness, itching, irritation, tearing, redness and dark circles under the eyes.  Ocular allergies will exacerbate dry eye syndrome.
Q:Why should I have an allergy test?
A:To try to identify the source or trigger for better control or treatment of ocular discomfort.
Q:How is the test performed?
A:The test is performed on the skin of each forearm.  We introduce sixty (60) known allergens specific to the state of Florida which includes dust, molds, trees and grass.  The test will take thirty (30) minutes.
Q:What if I have a reaction?
A: You may experience itching, swelling and/or redness similar to a mosquito bite.  When the test is complete, we will apply an anti-itch cream.  The symptoms should subside in as little as thirty (30) minutes, or may take a few hours.
QWhat can I do to treat ocular allergies?
A:Environmental allergies are usually seasonal.  Knowing what time of year you are most susceptible gives you the best ammunition.  For example, summer is time for grass to flourish.  If you find you are allergic to grass, stay on the sidewalk.  Avoidance of the trigger or allergen is ideal; however, during these times, artificial tears are a great resource.  They help by washing some of the allergens out of the eye.  If you experience itching, there are over the counter allergy eye drops.  If these don’t help, please call the office to schedule an appointment.
Q:I am taking a beta blocker.  What should I do?
A:Please inform the technician of the specific medication and if you have ever experienced a severe reaction to anything.
Q:Is there anything I should avoid prior to having an allergy test?
A:Yes.  You should discontinue oral antihistamines including allergy eye drops and nasal sprays, nonprescription sleep aids such as Tylenol PM and cold and sinus medications for 5 (days) since they may interfere with the results of the test. If for any reason you are unable to discontinue these medications, please let the office know, so that we may accommodate you in the future.
If you should have any further questions, Please discuss them with the physician or a technician.