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    Differentiating ocular allergy

    Understanding the condition leads to better treatment

    On the surface, eyecare providers may not fully appreciate the prevalence and complexity of ocular allergy and its clinical management; we learn that it is a relatively simple disease defined by ocular itch.

    Beyond the surface, however, allergic conjunctivitis is not a simple disease but a group of complex diseases that merits better understanding and more precise and effective management.1 Additionally, we may not know nuances among available ocular allergic medications for judicious prescribing.

    Let’s examine current knowledge of the different ocular allergic diseases, drugs, and their clinical management. I will include ICD-10 codes for conditions mentioned for ease of coding.

    Related: How to improve diagnosis and treatment of allergy

    Acute and chronic allergy

    Ocular allergy can be broken down into acute and chronic diseases (see Table 1).

    Acute diseases include:

    • Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC; H10.403)

    • Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC; H10.403)

    Chronic forms include:

    • Vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC; H16.263)

    • Atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC; H10.13)

    • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC; H10.413)

    Related: How to identify and treat allergic eye disease

    Len V. Koh, OD, PhD
    Dr. Koh is an associate professor at Arizona College of Optometry in Glendale, AZ. He earned his Doctor of Optometry degree at the New ...


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    Optometry Times A/V