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Allergy Testing

Questions and answers

1.  Why is the Eye Care Center now providing allergy testing for our patients?    

Allergy testing has been shown to increase the accuracy of diagnosis when added to history and clinical examination.  It differentiated allergic diseases from other mimicking conditions.  It may lead to allergen avoidance strategies, improved medication, and for some patients, desensitization treatment.  The strongest indications for skin prick testing are where there is good evidence for the effectiveness of allergen avoidance or immunotherapy.

2.  What is an allergen?

An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction.  In some people, the immune system thinks allergens are foreign or dangerous. This is what leads to allergy symptoms.   Allergic reactions are common. The immune response that causes an allergic reaction is similar to the response that causes hay fever. Most reactions happen soon after contact with an allergen.

3.  Does everyone react the same to allergens?

Many allergic reactions are mild, while others can be severe and life-threatening. They can be confined to a small area of the body, or they may affect the entire body. The most severe form is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. Allergic reactions occur more often in people who have a family history of allergiesSubstances that don't bother most people (such as venom from bee stings and certain foods, medications, and pollens) can trigger allergic reactions in certain people.  Although first-time exposure may only produce a mild reaction, repeated exposures may lead to more serious reactions. Most severe allergic reactions occur within seconds or minutes after exposure to the allergen. 

4.  Can you explain how the test is administered?

The test is administered by a trained technician who will scratch the surface of the skin with 60 different allergens and monitor for a negative or positive reaction.  The technician will record the results that will be presented to your doctor to go over with you.

5.  How long will the test take?

The entire  testing process takes  30 minutes.