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    Experts offer top allergy tips

     

    Michael Cooper, OD

    Willimantic, CT

    Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member

    1.Never forget that the allergy season is year round. As part of our battery of questions, we always ask patients if their allergies are spring, fall, a combination, or perennial.

    In the New England area, some homes date back to pre-Colonial America (mid to late 1600s), so I ask how much mold is present in their houses to gauge whether this may have an impact on allergy status.

    2. Make sure your patients are armed with coupon/saving cards. Although we try to keep the cards present in the office, sometimes we run out at the height of the spring and fall seasons. Remember that most companies have dedicated websites for their products which allow patients to download the coupon directly to their tablet/phone/computer.

    3. Don’t be afraid to lean on your local pharmaceutical representatives for samples and formulary details. They can be your life preserver when insurance plan coverage goes sideways.

    4. If a patient presents with acute symptoms, a great way to manage these cases is to utilize a topical steroid (i.e., Pred Forte, Lotemax Gel [loteprednol etabonate 5%, Bausch + Lomb], Durezol [difluprednate, Novartis]) to quell both the symptoms and signs. Although it is the brute force method, your patients will thank you for the added rapid relief.

    These medications can be used as a monotherapy pulse or in combination with your choice of antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer.

    Finally, I always send a letter to encourage a patient to heed our recommendation to see an allergist in order to better manage the systemic pathology.

    Up next: Bill Townsend, OD, FAAO

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