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Emily Schoemmell, Paulo Gomes, Donna Welch; Ocular Allergy 2013:A Survey of Current Trends. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2552.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess demographics of allergic history and treatment prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis patients.
Subjects who were part of an ocular allergy clinical trial database and agreed to participate in a clinical trial were asked to participate in this IRB-approved questionnaire. Of 230 subjects, a total of 205 completed questionnaires and were included in the survey analysis. The population of respondents was generally representative of trial participants in terms of age, racial distribution, and the relative numbers of men and women. Subjects provided information on their disease characteristics, their treatment strategies, and their satisfaction with their current therapeutic regimes.
The survey population consisted of 59% women and 41% men; the mean age of respondents was 37.8 years. The overwhelming majority (83.9%) reported experiencing nasal as well as ocular allergy symptoms, while smaller percentages (18-31%) stated that they also suffered from food allergies, skin allergies, or asthma. Approximately 1 in 4 reported some type of allergy to medication. As a group, the respondents reflect recent national trends: 38% experience allergic symptoms year-round, while 62% experience seasonal allergic disease. Surprisingly, the second-most reported complaint (after ocular itching) among all patients was excessive tearing or watery eyes, not ocular redness. Another surprising finding was the low percentage of patients that seek treatments for their allergies; 71% of seasonal allergics and 53% with perennial allergies have not sought treatment from an eye care specialist, and 40 % reported that they do not regularly purchase over the counter medications to treat their allergies. Almost 80% of patients that used drops report that they are effective “all or most” of the time.
This survey confirms that our study population accurately reflects national and global trends regarding incidence of perennial and seasonal disease, and highlights the need for improved treatments for those with year-round allergy. In addition, results demonstrate that as care providers a vital role is one of education, encouraging our patients to take advantage of existing therapeutic options that are likely to improve their quality of life. As expected, subjects reporting year round symptoms also experience other non-ocular allergic symptoms including nasal, asthma and dermatitis compared to seasonal only patients.
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