Many common and recurring ocular symptoms are caused by allergies and are often misdiagnosed. These include itching, watery eyes, foreign body sensation, redness, discharge among others. At Miami Eye Institute we are able to offer non-invasive in-office allergy testing. During your initial visit, Dr. Inna Ozerov will carefully review your health history and current symptoms as well as perform a detailed ocular exam.
Allergy testing can be performed in a variety of ways. Blood tests can be sent for evaluation, however, at Miami Eye Institute we have a great success for the diagnosis of allergies with the use of skin testing. During this testing a painless skin prick device is used to screen for potential allergies. This provides an immediate assessment of the patient’s allergies and gives a very good idea of how allergic the patient is. This test can greatly aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patient’s presenting complaints.
Preparations for Allergy Testing
When your appointment is scheduled, you will be given instructions on how to prepare for allergy testing. It is important to discontinue all antihistamines 48 hours prior to testing. We will test for 60 different allergens including pollens, dust mites, molds, and pets.
Method of Testing
We utilize The Skintestor OMNI™ device for the test. This is an easy and comfortable solution for allergy testing. This is typically performed on the arms, therefore, it is advisable to wear a short sleeve shirt.
Once your allergy has been diagnosed and you are aware of the environmental cause of your symptoms, one course of action is to avoid the allergen. However that is not always possible.
Several types of over-the-counter or prescription medications may be prescribed to control your allergy symptoms. Allergy medications can be very effective in controlling symptoms but do not cure the allergic reaction. Allergy symptoms can only be prevented by changing your immune system’s response to the offending allergen. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve your allergy symptoms. These may include antihistamines, decongestants, prescription nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors and more.
Immunotherapy builds up blocking antibodies by repeated exposure of allergens, reducing your allergic response and possibly eliminating the allergy altogether. When allergen avoidance and medications do not successfully control your allergy symptoms, immunotherapy maybe the alternative. Types of immunotherapy include oral drops or weekly injections. Immunotherapy can improve or eliminate symptoms, as well as reduce or eliminate the need for medications and future treatment.
WHAT IS SUBLINGUAL IMMUNOTHERAPY (oral drops)?
Sublingual ImmunoTherapy(SLIT) is similar to subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), also known as allergy shots. Like allergy shots, SLIT uses small doses of allergens to build the body’s resistance and decrease the allergic individual’s resistance over time.Unlike allergy shots,when using SLIT, these individuals are given a solution of allergen extracts called allergy drops to place under their tongue. SLIT has been clinically proven and routinely used in Europe for the past century.Though a full treatment can last years, many report improved symptoms after just a few months.
How Does SLIT Help Fight Allergies?
Our immune system keeps us alive by attacking dangerous germs. An allergy is when our immune system attacks a harmless substance, like pollen (an allergen), against something it should ignore. This attack releases chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. Medications, like antihistamines, mask the symptoms but do not get at the underlying problem. SLIT aims to treat the underlying problem by training the immune system to ignore the harmless allergen.
Why Use SLIT?
To train your immune system to ignore the allergen,you can do SLIT or Allergy Shots (SCIT). The problem with allergy shots is that they hurt, have side effects and require weekly visits to the doctor’s office. With SLIT you put drops under your tongue at home. Convenient, customizable, safe and no painful shots.
Convenience -because allergy drops are less intrusive than allergy shots they are much more tolerable. While allergy shots require weekly office visits, allergy drops are done in the comfort of your home. Because consistency is essential, the convenience SLIT offers can make a big difference in allergy treatment.
Customization – SLIT is customizable to each patient’s needs. Allergy shots start every patient on the same dose but SLIT can start at a weaker strength with less allergenic substances which increases the patient’s safety.
Safety – SLIT allows for fine tuning that allergy shots does not. This and the regular monitoring by your physician enables sensitive patents and those with multiple allergies the chance to be treated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why test for allergies?
Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment. Today allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with an examination and medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that are causing your allergies. This will allow for a more targeted approach to your treatment.
What allergies can allergy testing find?
Our allergy tests help find allergies to tree, pollen, weeds, grasses, dust mites, animals, and molds.
What Are Allergy Drops?
Allergy drops are a new and more convenient form of immunotherapy. Patients are prescribed allergy drops they take outside of the doctor’s office. Using allergy drops saves patient’s time and money because a weekly appointment is not necessary.