Adult Female POC sits having her forearms tested for allergies by allergist, while her chronic dry eye is illustrated in thought bubble.

Allergies and Dry Eye

When I was first diagnosed with dry eye, my doctor mentioned she saw an allergy component with my diagnosis. I did have some eye itching and redness, but it wasn’t too bad, or so I thought. Some of the tests that she conducted on my eyes were able to tell her that I was indeed struggling with eye allergies.

The effect of allergies on my eyes

I remember one test that involved using a Q-tip to flip my eyelid inside out. That was scary to me but you could tell she had a technique, and it was painless. She described the inside of my eye lid looking like a cobblestone street. I thought that was an interesting description. She started me on a prescription allergy drop called Zerviate.

For a few months I tried an over-the-counter eye drop medication, but that did not do enough for the allergy, and I needed something stronger. I was surprised because I did not know allergies could affect my eyes so much. I was taking an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, but my eye doctor quickly told me that was drying my eyes out even further, if that was even possible, I felt.

She mentioned that allergy testing might be a good option to try, because that way I had more of an idea to what was making them worse and what to avoid.

Undergoing allergy testing

I made an appointment with an allergist and had allergy testing. It wasn’t too bad; they poked my forearms with the actual allergens and measured my reactions with a small tape measurer. I believe they tested for 15 different allergens, mainly environmental. My results were almost instant, and I was able to see what I had reacted to.

I felt this was beneficial for a few reasons. One of those reasons was I was able to be aware of what might trigger my allergies more and how to avoid them, especially on a windy day.

Secondly, it helped my dry eye specialist because she was able to tailor my eye care to the different seasons and was able to proactively treat me before I went into a full-on flare. Where I live, we experience all four seasons. Some seasons are worse than the others, and so are my eyes. It has really helped me stay on top of my care before my eyes get too bad.

Could be beneficial

If you are struggling with eye allergies, bring it up to your eye care professional and see if your doctor thinks allergy testing would be beneficial for you as well.

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