Testing for Ocular Allergies
Since ocular allergies affect so many people and can even worsen dry eye disease, EyeSight Hawaii has begun ocular allergy testing. Doctor’s Allergy Formula (DAF) is a proprietary, FDA-approved diagnostic skin “scratch” test to determine your specific allergies. This simple, painless (shot free) 3-minute test is covered by major medical insurance. The results of the test are read after only 15 minutes. Once we identify what you are allergic to, we can create custom treatment protocols specific to your needs.
Who should get tested?
If you suffer from any of the following allergy related symptoms, then you would be a candidate for our DAF test:
- Itchy Eyes
- Red/Bloodshot Eyes
- Watery Eyes
- Swollen Eyes
- Dark Circles under Eyes
- Runny Nose
- Itchy Nose
- Flakey/Red Skin
Why should I get tested?
- Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S.
- 60 million American suffer from allergies – and 24 million have ocular allergies
- Many people suffer for years before being tested or even realizing that ocular allergies are the issue.
- Allergies interfere with your day-to-day life and can result in loss of productivity, missed work or school, and an overall poo quality of life
- Testing with DAF is the key to finding out the cause of your eye irritation and the key to treatment of ocular allergies leading chronic disease in the U.S.
What causes an allergic reaction?
Our immune system keeps us alive by attacking dangerous germs. An allergy occurs when our immune system attacks a harmless substance, like pollen (an allergen), against something it should ignore. Allergy symptoms occur as an irritating reaction to environmental allergens, such as trees and grasses, dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. This attack releases chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. The eyes are particularly sensitive to airborne allergies, which cause irritation and discomfort. Medication, like antihistamines, mask the symptoms but do not identify the underlying problem.
What is involved in a “scratch” skin test?
A skin “scratch” test is a simple, non-invasive procedure that superficially scratches the surface of the skin applying the allergen to be tested to the exposed surface of the skin.
The device contains small amounts of the 58 most common allergens in your area in addition to both a positive and negative control so we can objectively diagnose your particular allergies. If you are allergic to an allergen, a small mosquito bite-like bump will appear.
Because everyone is unique in what their specific allergic triggers are, knowing what you are allergic to is important for the effective treatment of allergies.
How to prepare for testing?
Please review Medications to Avoid Prior to Allergy Testing and see below additional information on how to prepare for testing. On treatment day, do not wear a long sleeved shirt as testing will be done on the arms.
- No prescription or over the counter oral antihistamines should be used 5 days prior to scheduled skin testing. These include cold tablets, sinus tablets, hay fever medications, or oral treatments for itchy skin, over the counter allergy medications, such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Actifed, Dimetapp, Benedryl, and many others. Prescription antihistamines such as Clarinex and Xyzol should also be stopped at least 5 days prior to testing. If you have any questions whether or not you are using an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor. In some instances a longer period of time off these medications may benecessary.
- You should discontinue your nasal and eye antihistamine medications, such as Patanase, Pataday, Astepro, Optivar, or Astelin at least 2 days before the testing. In some instances a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary. If you have any questions regarding the use of an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor.
- Medications such as over the counter sleeping medications (e.g. Tylenol PM) and other prescribed drugs, such as amytriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil), hydroxyzine (Atarax), doxepin (Sinequan), and imipramine (Tofranil) have antihistaminic activity and should be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to receiving skin test after consultation with your physician. Please make the doctor or nurse aware of the fact that you are taking these medications so that you may be advised as to how long prior to testing you should stop taking them.
- You may continue to use your intranasal allergy sprays such as Flonase Rhinocort, Nasonex,
Nasacort, Omnaris, Veramyst and Nasarel.
- Asthma inhalers (inhaled steroids and bronchodilators), leukotriene antagonist s (e.g.
Singulair, Accolate) and oral theophylline (Theo-Dur,T-Phyl, Uniphyl, Theo-24, etc.) do not interfere with skin testing and should be used as prescribed.
- Most drugs do not interfere with skin testing but make certain that your physician and nurse know about every drug you are taking including Over-the-Counters. (Please provide the doctor with a current list).
How are allergies tested?
Once we know the allergens that are causing your symptoms, an effective treatment plan can be recommended. These treatment plans include:
- AVOIDANCE – is the “gold standard” for treating allergies. With avoidance alone, approximately 75% of patients experience fewer symptoms.
- PHARMACOTHERAPY – includes oral and/or topical antihistamines, NSAIDS and steroids. By identifying the allergies, we can determine the best treatment with medications.
- ALTERNATE THERAPY – many all-natural nutritional supplements have been clinically proven to be as effective as popular prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines, but without the side effects.
- IMMUNOTHERAPY – such as allergy shots – can desensitize the patient and potentially cure the underlying allergy.