Ocular allergy encompasses a group of hypersensitivity disorders of the immune system affecting the eye and includes allergic conjunctivitis, giant papillary conjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis. Ocular allergy affects around 15-20% of the allergy suffering population, but the prevalence of allergy is expected to increase with estimates as high as 50% by 2015. While conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis are relatively mild, ocular allergies have a significant effect on the quality of life and in some cases are potentially sight threatening.
This article provides a summary of the aetiology, epidemiology and signs and symptoms of ocular allergies, which serves to aid differential diagnosis. Optometric and ophthalmologic management strategies and treatments are also discussed. Article by Paramdeep Bilkhu BSc(Hons) MCOptom, Professor James S Wolffsohn BSc(Hons) PgCertHE PgDipAdvClinOptom MBA PhD FHEA FSB FAAO FCOptom FIACLE FBCLA, Dr Shehzad A Naroo BSc (Hons) MSc PhD MCOptom FIACLE FAAO FBCLA. Ophthalmic Research Group, Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
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