With Earth’s climate change, both higher temperature and carbon dioxide levels have been inducing vigorous amounts of allergen production from multiple plant and tree species blooming faster than expected for at least the past 160 years.
How often do you ask a child in the exam chair if her eyes were ever itchy or watery? When I started to ask this question to every patient in my pediatric population, it was quite evident that there was an undiscovered gold mine in my anterior segment practice. Allergies in the pediatric population are trending upward in a startling and truly dangerous manner.
The advent of spring yields the annual pilgrimage of patients into our offices complaining of the itchy, watery eyes of allergy. As any eyecare practitioner can attest, ocular allergy is one of the most common presentations to an eyecare practice.
Allergic diseases have greatly increased in industrialized countries. About 30 percent of people suffer from allergic symptoms, and from 40 to 80 percent of these have ocular symptoms.1 We all prescribe topical medicines for our patients with ocular allergies; their use has become almost second nature. These medications do a truly remarkable job of helping our patients who suffer from seasonal or perennial ocular allergies. I like to temper these pharmacologic recommendations with some common sense ideas that will complement the pharmacological treatment and greatly alleviate the patient’s symptomatology.