Prevalence of Dry-Eye Syndrome in Symptomatic Patients Undergoing Allergy Skin Testing
To determine the prevalence of dry eye syndrome in a series of patients clinically selected for allergy skin testing.
Patients (n=35) scheduled for allergy skin testing completed ocular and allergy questionnaires and underwent a review of their medical, ocular, and allergy histories and medications, tear film osmolarity testing, and biomicroscopy. The cohort was retrospectively subdivided into hyperosmolar (osm 308 or higher, n=19) and normal osmolarity (osm 307 or less, n=16), in order to statistically compare dry eye and allergy testing results between these two groups. Patients were instructed to stop systemic anti-histamine agents 1 week prior to allergy testing.
54% (19/35) of patients were found to be hyperosmolar and 80% (28/35) tested highly positive for at least one allergen. 78.95% (15/19) of hyperosmolar (mean osm 314.1±7.5) and 81.25% (13/16) of normal osmolarity (mean osm 296.5±4.8) patients tested positive for at least one allergen. 8.6% (3/35) of patients showed normal osmolarity and no significant allergen-mediated reactivity. The hyperosmolar group had higher positive allergen skin test readings (mean 17.0±14.1) than the normal osmolarity group (7.6±10.9, p=0.039).
A significant percentage of patients with symptoms consistent with ocular allergy who are skin test positive also have signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Combining allergy skin testing with a dry eye evaluation, including tear osmolarity, may help to further differentiate the sources of ocular surface disease in this cohort.