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Y. Takano, M. Dogru, M. Tanaka, J. Shoji, S. Bonini, K. Fukagawa, Y. Satake, K. Tsubota, H. Fujishima; Preliminary Results of the World Ocular Allergy Study: Comparison of the Characteristics of Patients With Severe Ocular Allergies in Italy and Japan . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):4991.
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Severe ocular allergies such as atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC) and vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) are potentially blinding ocular surface disorders. International comparisons of the prevalence and the demographic characteristics of severe ocular allergies are essential for a better understanding of the global epidemiology and factors that may contribute to their severity. We present the preliminary data comparing the characteristics of severe ocular allergy patients from two participating countries, Japan and Italy.
Allergy specialists from several nations were requested to participate in this preliminary study. Representative clinicians from participating nations carried out a standard multiple question survey concerning the presence of personal or familial atopic diseases, serum antigen–specific IgE, medications used and corneal, limbal and tarsal clinical findings. The characteristics of patients visiting ocular allergy specialist clinics in collaborating centers in Japan and Italy were compared. The data were collected by slit lamp examinations, questionnaires conducted at patient visits and chart reviews.
Patients in Japan had a significantly greater mean age and incidence of corneal complications and a larger percentage of patients with cobblestone–like papilla. The percentage of patients responsive to multiple types of allergens was significantly higher in the Japanese patients compared to Italians.
In this preliminary study, differences in clinical characteristics and severity were observed in Italian and Japanese patients. Although certain biases might have been involved in the current study, our results suggest that Japanese patients may present with more severe features of ocular allergic diseases than Italian patients. Further studies involving other institutions are warranted to further clarify the influence of other factors including ethnicity and climate. Our goal is to involve the cooperation of as many nations as possible to broaden our understanding the pathogenesis of severe ocular allergies.
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