What Should I Know About Eye Allergy Testing?
Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are caused by the body overreacting to an allergen or trigger. The immune system produces too many histamines, leading to uncomfortable, irritable eyes. Eye allergy testing is available at our practice in Chicago, IL, for individuals who exhibit symptoms.
At Wicker Park Eye Center, Drs. Daniel Tepper and Parisha Shah examine patients’ eyes to determine if they are suffering from allergies. If so, the doctor can provide treatment options to minimize their symptoms. Our medical team works diligently to provide relief with personalized care plans.
Common Eye Allergy Symptoms
When patients suffer from eye allergies, they might exhibit common symptoms like red, itchy, or watery eyes. Additionally, some patients might experience a burning sensation. For some individuals, they might have swollen eyelids that can feel uncomfortable. Blurry eyesight is another possible sign of allergies.
While eye allergies are uncomfortable, they typically are not bad for your health and should not cause any serious vision issues. It is still a good idea to schedule an appointment to visit our practice for an examination.
What to Expect
When you come to our Chicago, IL, office for eye allergy testing, we can discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. The doctor will also ask you what triggers your eye problems, evaluate the condition of your eyes, and review your medical history. During the exam, the doctor will then use a slit-lamp microscope to get a closer look at your eyes, looking for swollen blood vessels that are visible on the eye’s surface.
In some cases, the doctor might need to collect a sample. This usually occurs when the patient suffers from more extreme eye allergies or if it is not immediately clear if the individual actually has allergies. The physician will numb the eyes before carefully and gently removing a small amount of the conjunctiva, which is the white part of the eye. The sample will be checked for a particular type of white blood cell to determine if you have allergies.
If the doctor diagnoses a patient with eye allergies, there is a wide range of options available. You and the doctor will work together to find the best course of treatment.
- Wetting drops: Various eye drops can work to remove allergens from the eyes. These drops also provide relief from dry, irritated eyes. At our practice, we can provide patients with a prescription for these artificial tears or recommend over-the-counter brands.
- Antihistamine drops and medications: Some patients find decongestant eye drops to be helpful since they can reduce eye redness. When the drops contain an antihistamine, itchiness is also minimized for more relief. Additionally, oral antihistamine medications can help with itchy eyes.
- Steroid drops: The doctor might prescribe a corticosteroid, which is a type of steroid designed for individuals with more severe symptoms or individuals with chronic allergies. These eye drops minimize swollen, itchy, and red eyes.
- Allergy shots: In some cases, patients might need allergy shots when other medications are ineffective. These immunotherapy shots contain a small amount of the allergen to help the patient develop immunity to it over time.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about eye allergy testing, please contact our Chicago office online to schedule a consultation. You can also call (773) 376-2020 with any questions or to set up a visit.