Surviving allergy season as a contact lens wearer
Lifestyle, treatment, and education play major roles in patient care
Depending on where you live, spring is here—or at least on its way. It’s the time of year to thaw out along with the trees, grass, and flowers. With spring comes our promise to get ourselves into shape for the summer, and life gets busier with more outdoor activities for the whole family.
This creates a conundrum.
Though it is the time of year that inspires both new and established contact lens wearers to get into their lenses, it’s also the time of year that seems to cause the most detriment to contact lens wearers.
Previously from Dr. Brimer: How to establish value in the minds of contact lens wearers
Identify and educate
Patients with allergies do not always experience itch, so our first obligation is to actively look for ocular surface signs that help identify allergy. Look for papillae, allergic mucous, filmy tears, and contact lens buildup—or reduced lens wettability.
Osmolarity and immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing come in handy as well, and both are reimbursable. If the patient is not itching or is resistant to comply, use your anterior segment camera to show them what you see. Anterior segment camera imaging is an effective tool to convince patients to use a medication, change contact lenses, or adjust their lifestyle habits.
The first thing I stress is for patients to flush their eyes with eye wash or preservative-free tears before and after contact lens wear. This will dilute any allergic mucous, debris, or inflammatory proteins in the tears—and lessen the likelihood of it ending up on the contact lens.